Carriage of Naloxone by Police Scotland officers
Police Scotland is in the process of training and equipping all operational officers up to and including the rank of Police Inspector with intra-nasal Naloxone kits, to help people experiencing suspected opioid/opiate related drug overdoses.
Following a decision earlier this year to train and equip all operational officers up to and including the rank of Inspector with intra-nasal Naloxone kits.
The roll out began with officers in Paisley, Greenock and Shetland receiving their kits on International Overdose Awareness Day (31 August 2022).
Further kits have now been issued in Edinburgh, Forth Valley and Highland & Islands Divisions.
Training and issuing of kit across the country and the organisation is continuing and is expected to be completed to all operational officers of the ranks of Constable, Sergeant and Inspector in early 2023.
Probationary constables will later be trained in the carriage and use of Naloxone as part of their Operational Safety Training and First Aid instruction during their time at the Police Scotland College, located at the organisation’s headquarters at Tulliallan. Officers will then have annual Naloxone refresher training when undertaking their annual skills assessment.
Naloxone is an emergency first aid treatment for use in a potentially life-threatening overdose situation. It works by reversing the respiratory suppression caused by opioids/opiates and can buy the casualty critical minutes until ambulance clinicians arrive on scene.
The Naloxone being carried by Police Scotland officers will be administered via a single use intra-nasal spray device. Police Scotland officers already undertake in-depth first aid training. The carriage and administration of Naloxone by an officer is an extension of their first aid skills.
Since 2005, Naloxone has been on a list of medications which anyone can legally administer in an emergency in order to save a life (contained within the Human Medicine Regulations 2012).
Police Scotland piloted the carriage and use of Naloxone by its officers last year as part of a public health approach to addressing the country’s drug death rates.
Since officers in four areas (Falkirk, Grangemouth and Stirling; Dundee City; Glasgow East, and Caithness, and local custody suites) began carrying the intra-nasal sprays in March 2021, Naloxone has been administered at least 95 times by August 2022, with positive outcomes on all but four occasions (as of December 2022).
The circumstances leading to Naloxone administrations by police have been varied, and have included incidents where officers have discovered unconscious casualties during patrols, or being alerted to an overdose by a member of the public.
Other incidents have involved people in police custody, during police Public Order incidents and the execution of a search warrant. Naloxone has also been administered to people intending to complete suicide.
In 2021, there were 1,330 drug related deaths in Scotland, a drop of one per cent on the previous year (a reduction of nine deaths) which reflected the first time since 2013 there has been a recorded decrease. However, the figure remains the second highest annual total, and Scotland has the highest drug related deaths rate in Europe, with a rate 3.7 times higher than the UK average.
Police Scotland’s work to introduce Naloxone as part of standard issue kit to its officers has been supported by the Scottish Government, as well as a range of key stakeholders.
Quarterly usage figures will also be published online upon completion of the national roll-out.
More about Police Scotland’s work relating to Naloxone:
Police Scotland develops proposals to trial Naloxone – February 2020
Police Scotland to pilot carriage of Naloxone by officers - November 2020
Partnership funding facilitates officers for Police Scotland Naloxone pilot project – December 2021
Police Scotland officers administer Naloxone for first time in pilot project – March 2021
Volunteer Police Scotland officer saves a life after Naloxone training – April 2021
Naloxone Test of Change update on International Overdose Awareness Day – August 2021
Further Naloxone administrations by Police Scotland officers – November 2021
Police Scotland commits to national roll-out of life-saving nasal spray – February 2022
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