Police officers in Bedfordshire to use life-saving nasal spray
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Police officers across Bedfordshire are to be equipped with a life-saving nasal spray which could help save the lives of people who are suffering an opiate overdose.
Funded by the Drug and Alcohol public health teams at Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Councils, the rollout will see 40 frontline officers carrying nasal Naloxone – a medication which, if used quickly, can reverse the impact of an opiate overdose
Once administered, it typically has an effect within 2-5 minutes and lasts for between 20-40 minutes, allowing time for paramedics to arrive. Naloxone has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system.
The initiative will be trialled by officers in Bedfordshire Police’s frontline response and community teams for two years.
Naloxone was traditionally given as an injection by medical staff, but the new product is small, simple to administer and easy to carry, meaning officers will be able to carry the lifesaving tool as part of their regular equipment.
It is hoped that a successful trial period will lead to it becoming a permanent addition to officers’ equipment.
In 2021 the Public Heath Teams received grant funding from the Home Office and the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) to improve access to drug and alcohol treatment and support. The teams have worked closely with Bedfordshire Police and the local drug and alcohol services to implement the pilot, which is part of a wider initiative to deliver reductions in the rate of drug-related deaths, drug-related offending and increase access to support for those who need it.
Detective Chief Inspector Dani Bailey, Bedfordshire Police’s drugs lead, said: “The launch is the result of months of work by stakeholders across Bedfordshire and is a real partnership approach to keeping our communities safe. There is no doubt that lives will be saved from this initiative.
“Nasal Naloxone is a simple and cost-effective tool which will help our officers to respond to medical emergencies while other blue light colleagues make their way to the scene.
“Our officers are often among the first to arrive on the scene of a medical emergency, and the rollout means that they will be even better prepared to potentially save someone’s life.”
Vicky Head, Director of Public Health for Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils, said: “We are working in partnership locally to reduce the serious harms caused by drugs. Increasing access to the lifesaving medication Naloxone is an essential part of our local approach, along with wider work to reduce drug-related deaths and offending and ensure those who need it are able to access support.”
“The local Drug and Alcohol Services - Path to Recovery and Resolutions - have delivered Naloxone training to police officers and are on hand to offer specialist advice and support throughout the roll out of this initiative”
Sally Cartwright, Director of Public Health for Luton Council, said “We welcome the introduction of this potentially lifesaving measure which will help protect some of our most vulnerable people at times of crisis. This is a great example of successful partnership working between the police and local councils.”