Police Officers in Solihull and Dudley are the latest at West Midlands Police to be trained to use the drug overdose antidote Naloxone.
Some illegal drugs like heroin, morphine and fentanyl can slow down and even stop people breathing, but Naloxone reverses this effect and buys time until paramedics arrive.
West Midlands Police has been leading the way for a number of years as the first police force in the country to have some of its officers carrying Naloxone as part of their first aid kit. Naloxone was recently used to revive a woman in West Bromwich who had taken an overdose.
So far more than 150 neighbourhood police officers in Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall have been trained and are already carrying the spray. Solihull and Dudley police officers are undergoing training this week. It is the PCC’s intention that Coventry and Wolverhampton officers also complete the training.
The Naloxone training was provided free of charge by Change Grow Live and Solihull Integrated Addiction Services.
Naloxone can be used in an emergency without prescription. It is easy to deliver and has no effects on those who aren’t suffering from an overdose. The medication has been funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and has cost just shy of £15,000.
The original roll-out of Naloxone followed the publication of a hard hitting report which highlighted the impact that drugs were having on the West Midlands. It revealed someone in the region dies every 3 days due to drug poisoning. The report also stated that the impact of drugs was costing the taxpayer in the region of £1.4 billion a year.
The Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil, said: “Officers carrying Naloxone out on the beat can feel reassured they have a magic formula on them that has the power to prevent death. A person overdosing is someone’s family member, friend, or partner and every death is a tragedy. Naloxone helps us prevent this avoidable human loss.
“Officers are often involved in securing scenes after fatal overdoses for many hours, and experience these traumatic events themselves. This scheme is helping to reduce the number of overdoses, is saving lives, and ensuring officers can spend more time tackling crime.”
The drugs lead for West Midlands Police is Superintendent Jane Bailey, she said: “It’s wonderful that we now have officers across the region trained in the use of administering Naloxone. We began the initiative in Birmingham in 2019, but since then it has been rolled out rapidly.
“It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to reduce drug related deaths and save lives, and in addition, we continue to signpost people to get support from our specialist drug agency colleagues to help them turn their lives around.”