Around 300 more officers to use drug overdose antidote - The Solihull Observer

Around 300 more officers to use drug overdose antidote

Solihull Editorial 23rd May, 2024   0

MORE POLICE officers will be trained to carry a life-saving antidote that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Simon Foster, has announced 280 beat officers across the force will be shown how to use Naloxone after the first phase of the scheme saw officers save four lives.

Naloxone has been trialled in Birmingham and Walsall from 2019, when West Midlands Police became the first force in the country to train frontline officers to administer the emergency medication.

The roll-out follows a brief pause in the trials in Birmingham and Walsall, in order for the Chief Constable, Craig Guildford, to carry out a review of naloxone and agree a robust plan for its expansion force-wide. This is due to be completed by the end of next month.

Naloxone will be supplied to officers by the relevant drug treatment service in each Local Police Force Area and funding will be met by each local authority’s public health team.

Mr Foster also chairs the West Midlands Combating Drugs and Alcohol Partnership and is responsible for the implementation of the Government’s national drug strategy in the West Midlands.

He said: “The further roll-out of this scheme will see more frontline officers from West Midlands Police trained to carry and administer naloxone than ever before.

“West Midlands Police has been leading the way in the fight against drug-related overdoses for a number of years, after becoming the first force in the country to pilot the use of naloxone. Since then, 28 other forces across England and Wales have followed suit.

“This immediate expansion will save lives and delivers on my pledge to reduce deaths from drug use right across the region. I commend all the officers who have volunteered to complete the training to carry this life-saving medication on our streets.”

The medication is a nasal spray, which can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, methadone, morphine and fentanyl.

The main life-threatening effects of drugs like heroin are that they can slow down and stop breathing and Naloxone can block this effect and restore normal breathing within two to three minutes.

It can be dispensed in an emergency without prescription for the purpose of saving a life. It is easy for officers to use and has no effects on those who are not suffering an overdose, making it safe to use.

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