Emergency overdose treatment naloxone used to save more than 30 people, say Cleveland Police

Cleveland Police introduced the use of naloxone in March 2022. Credit: PA Images

A life-saving drug used following overdoses has been used dozens of time in just over a year.

The drug naloxone, which can be used as an emergency treatment following a heroin or opiate overdose, has been used by Cleveland Police to save 32 lives since being introduced in March 2022.

More than 150 police officers and PCSOs were trained in how to use the treatment.

Officers are trained to use the treatment in the form of a nasal spray, rather than an injection, which makes it easier to use by non-professionals in an emergency.

Naloxone was used by the force in several different situations including when calls have been received about unconscious people, or when they have been found by officers out on patrols.

Two prisoners were also given Naloxone after becoming unresponsive.

Drugs like heroin can slow down and stop breathing.

Naloxone is a life-saving, emergency treatment that can save someone's life if used quickly following a heroin or opiate overdose. Credit: PA

Naloxone blocks this effect and reverses breathing difficulties but it has no effect on people who are not suffering an overdose, making it safe to use.

Chief Inspector Jon Tapper said: “The introduction of Naloxone in Cleveland has had a real positive impact and means we are able to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Officers have seen the drug have an instant effect on unresponsive people and they have the peace of mind knowing it doesn’t harm those who are not suffering an overdose.

He added: “By administering Naloxone, we may have given the patient crucial time to receive vital medical attention that they may not have had without the emergency intervention.

“While the force remains committed to tackling those benefitting from crime, we also want to reduce drug related deaths and support those at risk of drug overdoses.”

Gemma Swan, operations manager for Middlesbrough Council’s recovery solutions team, which has been working with Cleveland Police, said: “As we know Naloxone saves lives so this is a massive step in reducing the stigma of carrying a kit.”

The scheme has been funded under the banner of Project ADDER, (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement, Recovery), which is funded by the Home Office and the Police and Crime Commissioner and aims to reduce drug deaths.

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