Police Scotland has announced that they are developing proposals for a trial which would see officers carrying intranasal naloxone – an opiate overdose reversal medication – whilst on patrol.
The news follows a similar announcement made in Wales where officers in Flintshire are to be trained to administer intranasal naloxone in a six-month trial starting in March.
A steering group made up of various partners, including the Scottish Drug Deaths Task Force, police staff associations and National Health Service will develop the proposals and delivery of the Scottish trial.
Results of the trial, referred to as a Test of Change, will provide evidence to help the service consider whether any change to current operational practice is necessary.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “Scotland has the worst rate of drug-related deaths per head of population in Europe and the devastating impact that drugs have on individuals, their families and wider communities is fully acknowledged by Police Scotland.
“Proposals for this Test of Change are being undertaken with a view to providing an evidence base that will help the police service and partners determine whether police officers carrying naloxone can help us to tackle the harm caused by drugs.
“Should this Test of Change be approved by the Force Executive following robust scrutiny, all officers who volunteer to participate will undergo extensive training in naloxone administration.”
The announcement follows the launch of a three-month trial by the Scottish Ambulance Service which has enabled some paramedics in Glasgow to train and supply naloxone kits to people at risk of witnessing an opiate overdose, including friends and family of people who are in need of medical attention.