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Officers administer Naloxone just two hours after completing training

Police Scotland officers administered naloxone for first time just two hours after they had completed their training on the spray. Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said it was heartening officers had “disregarded the misinformation” about the drug.

Naloxone is can be administrated as a nasal spray to reverse an opioid-related drug overdose.

The officers responded to a call in Glasgow’s east end on Tuesday night (9 March) having participated in a six-month voluntary trial of carrying the drug.

After successfully administering the spray to a man, he was then stabilised before Scottish Ambulance Service clinicians arrived at the scene and took over emergency medical care.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie, Police Scotland’s head of drug strategy, said he was “very proud” and their “quick thinking… has clearly saved a life which may have otherwise been lost”.

He said the force have since learned the patient left hospital later that same night and they have highlighted this incident to their community partners who support people living with addiction.

“It is heartening that the vast majority of our officers who have received training have disregarded the misinformation which has been presented about naloxone from some quarters,” ACC Ritchie said.

“Clearly, operational officers recognise that naloxone is a safe, simple way to help people who may be dying from an overdose and are willing to be involved in a pilot to see how beneficial it is to have police officers carrying it more widely.

“This first administration is an early indication of the potential value that police carrying naloxone could have in helping people who use drugs, as well as their families, friends and communities.”

He added: “However, the test of change has only just begun and we will continue to monitor and assess the value over the next six months.

“This will take place with the support of an external team of academics at Edinburgh Napier University who will independently evaluate the entire process.”

The pilot involves constables, sergeants and inspectors in Glasgow and Falkirk and officers in Dundee are due to begin training soon.

In 2019 more than 1,200 people in Scotland died of drug misuse, according to the National Records of Scotland. It is the worst rate recorded in Europe and about three and a half times the rate for England and Wales.

The majority of deaths happened in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

In February 2020, ahead of the start of the pilot, Police Scotland’s Federation issued a circular to its members which said overworked officers did not need more expectations put upon them and warned of “mission creep” and the potential for allegations of assault.

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