Police officers to carry life-saving spray

Frontline police officers have volunteered to carry a life-saving nasal spray which reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

North Yorkshire Police has joined 28 other UK police forces by rolling out Naloxone to response and neighbourhood policing team officers in the initial phase.

The scheme will be gradually expanded in the years ahead.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Clarke, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Naloxone is the emergency antidote used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

“If administered within 15 minutes, Naloxone can restore normal breathing to a person if it has slowed or stopped.

“The main cause of premature death among people who use drugs in the UK is drug overdose.

“Many of the reported deaths could potentially have been avoided if Naloxone had been administered, which buys more time for medical intervention by ambulance and hospital teams.

“This really is a lifesaver.”

As a member of the North Yorkshire Drug and Alcohol Partnership, North Yorkshire Police says it has a part to play alongside emergency service and community partners in preserving life and reducing harm for substance users.

A draft North Yorkshire substance use (drugs and alcohol) strategy consultation is currently being conducted which ends on April 30.

Public health experts and national organisations including the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing and the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC), are all supportive of the police using naloxone to save lives.

Experts say Naloxone is not a controlled drug and is very safe.

Also, the Naloxone that is being issued is administered via a nasal spray which is easier to use than an injection-based variant.

The training takes no more than 30 minutes for the officers to complete and is being rolled out across North Yorkshire and the City of York.

ACC Clarke said: “While it will not be mandatory for our officers to carry Naloxone, we have urged colleagues to think carefully about the opportunity to save a life and to consider carrying a Naloxone kit.

“I want officers to see it as simply part of a wider set of life-saving first aid measures. 

“We wouldn’t hesitate to use a defibrillator on a member of the public who had collapsed with a suspected heart attack.

“We want officers to feel the same way about Naloxone when they come across someone who has suffered a suspected opioid overdose.

“I have directly witnessed Naloxone being used on someone in the effects of an overdose and it was amazing to see how effective it was.

“I personally would not hesitate to carry and use Naloxone – if there’s a spare kit, I’ll be in the queue.”