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Health / Police equipped with potentially life-saving Naloxone on overdose awareness day

From left to right: chief inspector Stuart Clemenson, police constable Francesca MacColl, police constable Reece Thorne, assistant chief constable Emma Bond (assistant chief constable for local policing north). Photo: Police Scotland

POLICE officers in Shetland are now being provided with overdose medication as part of a national roll out.

Naloxone works by reversing the respiratory suppression caused by opioids/opiates and can buy the casualty critical minutes until ambulance clinicians arrive on scene.

Shetland, Paisley and Greenock are the first three police areas outside of earlier trials to receive Naloxone kits following a decision earlier this year to train and equip all operational officers.

The kits were handed over the Shetland officers on International Overdose Awareness Day (31 August).

Local area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said: “A core role of a police officer is to protect and preserve the lives of our fellow citizens.

“Equipping our officers in Shetland with Naloxone supplements their existing extensive first aid training and helps them to fulfil that responsibility.

“Drug misuse can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and entire communities.

“By working alongside partner agencies, I very much hope the carriage of Naloxone by our officers helps to saves lives and positively change attitudes.”

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 then officers in four areas – Falkirk, Grangemouth and Stirling, Dundee City, Glasgow East and Caithness, and local custody suites – began carrying the intra-nasal sprays.

Around 30 kits have been sent to Shetland so far. All operational officers in the rank of constable, sergeant and inspector across Scotland will be trained and equipped in the coming months.

Naloxone has been administered by the police in Scotland at least 80 times to date, with positive outcomes on all but two occasions.

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.

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Members of the public can also collect Naloxone kits from the Substance Misuse Recovery Service at Lerwick Health Centre (01595 743006) and the Recovery Hub on the town’s Pitt Lane (01595 744402).

Meanwhile a candle-lit ceremony is due to take place this evening in the Lerwick flower park to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. People can light candles in remembrance from 8pm.

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