Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has decided that all operational officers in Police Scotland will be trained and equipped with a life-saving nasal spray which can be given safely to people who have suffered a drug overdose.
Image courtesy Police Scotland
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone (above) has decided that all operational officers in Police Scotland will be trained and equipped with a life-saving nasal spray which can be given safely to people who have suffered a drug overdose.
A national roll-out of Naloxone follows a successful test of change in Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow, Stirling and Caithness during which officers used the spray, which counters the effects of overdose from opioids such as heroin, to provide first aid on 62 occasions.
Chief Constable Livingstone said: “I know the terrible toll of drugs deaths in Scotland and policing is committed to playing our part in reducing the harm caused to individuals, families and communities.
“We have a vital role in preventing drugs from reaching our streets and bringing those engaged in serious and organised crime to justice and that will always be a key duty and priority for Police Scotland.
“Preservation of life, keeping people safe, lies right at the heart of policing. 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.
“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.”
The Chief Constable added: “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.”
During the test of change, 808 officers were trained to use Naloxone, and 656 (81%) volunteered to carry the nasal spray kits.
An independent academic review conducted between March and October 2021, during which Naloxone was used 51 times, recommended a national roll-out.
The review was coordinated by the Scottish Institute for Police Research (SIPR). More information about SIPR’s study can be found here.
Work is under way to secure stock of Naloxone and a national programme of training and equipping over 12,000 officers, will be undertaken in the coming months.
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.
The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen constantly in recent years, to a total of 1,339 in 2020.