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Police Scotland to go national with Naloxone

The life-saving spray for overdoses is being issued to frontline Police Scotland officers.

All operational officers in Police Scotland will be trained and equipped with Naloxone.

The force announced the life-saving nasal spray which can be given to people who have suffered an opiod drug overdose will become national issue following a pilot trial.

It was tested in five force areas and used to provide first aid on 62 occasions.

The decision was based on an independent academic review conducted between March and October 2021, during which Naloxone was used 51 times. The review was co-ordinated by the Scottish Institute for Police Research (SIPR).

All officers within response, community, and other roles including dog handlers, armed police, public order and road policing up to and including the rank of Inspector will be trained and equipped.

Any other officer or member of staff is free to undertake the training.

Chief Constable Livingstone said: “We have a purpose and remit which goes beyond law enforcement. We have a positive legal duty to improve the lives of our communities. Equipping and training officers with Naloxone will contribute to that mission.”

Naloxone has been around since the 1960s and acts as a disruptor against the binding elements of opiods including heroin, methadone, opium, codeine, morphine and buprenorphine. 

Studies have concluded that it can create a window of about an hour in which medical treatment can then be administered.

But it requires training and the attending officer will need to factor in withdrawal symptoms starting.

Demand is likely to be significant. The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen constantly in recent years, to a total of 1,339 in 2020 - and the spray was first administered two hours after the force started the pilot.

The force is now working to secure stock of Naloxone and a national programme of training and equipping over 12,000 officers, will be undertaken in the coming months.

CC Livingstone said: “Policing is so often the service of first and last resort; the service first on the scene; the service which responds to crisis and criticality. Where a person is suffering an overdose, Naloxone nasal-spray can be given safely by officers with no adverse effects.

“It is absolutely essential that where Naloxone is used by an officer to help people in crisis, professional medical attention continues to be provided from ambulance service colleagues and others. In addition, it is crucial that timely and sustainable support is available to provide treatment for those suffering addiction.”

He acknowledged the force had been able to move with speed in rolling out the dug because officers had stepped up to be part of the pilot scheme.

The Chief said: “I’m grateful to all the officers who stepped forward during the trial to carry Naloxone and help their fellow citizens when they needed it.”

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