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Force becomes first in UK to train officers to treat drug overdoses on the streets


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West Midlands to teach frontline response to life-threatening incidents.

Heroin: Force to train officers to treat life-threatening drug overdoses

Heroin: Force to train officers to treat life-threatening drug overdoses

Date - 25th July 2019
By - Ceysun Dixon 
1 Comment1 Comment}

 

Britain’s biggest regional force is the first in the UK to train officers to use life-saving medicines to combat drug-related overdoses on the beat.

West Midlands Police is introducing an initiative that will see officers learn to administer Naloxone, an antidote that temporarily halts the life-threatening effects of a drug overdose.  

A damning report last year suggested a death from drug poisoning occurs every four hours in England with a public health cost to social services running into billions of pounds.

The training is being rolled out gradually, firstly to officers working in Birmingham city centre where rough sleeping and street drug use is at its highest.  

PCC David Jamieson, who was instrumental in pushing for the policy, said the force is “leading the way” in its approach to drug-related incidents.

It is working with other agencies to expand the number of organisations whose staff carry the treatment, as part of a shared ambition to make the West Midlands the leading region for Naloxone provision.

He added: “Police officers are often the first on the scene when there is an overdose. By providing officers training to use Naloxone we could be saving lives.

“Officers are often involved in securing scenes after fatal overdoses, sometimes for considerable amounts of time. 

"This scheme should help to reduce the number of overdoses, meaning that as well as saving lives, it will save the taxpayer money too and free-up resources to tackle crime."

Officers will be trained to administer the emergency drug in life- threatening siuations, to effectively buy more time for ambulance responders to arrive on the scene to treat casualties.  

Naloxone blocks the effects of a heroin or fentanyl overdose, effectively slowing down and temporarily halting the effects of an overdose.  

Force drugs lead Chief Inspector Jane Bailey said the intervention-based approach will eventually “turn lives around”.

She said: “Officers will be able to instantly administer the life-saving drug should they come across anyone experiencing an opiate overdose while out and about in the city.

“It is a sight which has sadly been experienced by officers who have had to call for paramedics to assist others under the influence of controlled drugs." 

Claire James, associate director of nursing for Change Grow Live, said “ This has been a really exciting opportunity to work closely with West Midlands Police to reduce the number of potentially fatal opiate overdoses in Birmingham.

“The enthusiasm of officers during training to carry and administer intra nasal Naloxone as part of the first aid they provide has been amazing. 

“This partnership with the force means that Naloxone can now also be more effectively supplied to people who do not engage with treatment services, and who may be using substances in isolation, which puts them at greater risk of fatal overdose.”

The force is offering the training to officers on a voluntary basis, but has said the uptake so far has been high and plans to a wider roll it out in the future.

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Hmm, not sure I would be carrying this sort of thing. We don't have an issue with these drugs, certainly not enough to warrant carrying them. 

What if you get it right, wrong, someone dies etc. Not a process I would like to go through. 

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There is only one place to take them, A & E for correct medical intervention. We/You are not medically trained and should not be playing at being a medic or doctor. We have not got the manpower or expertise to do this. Meanwhile Mrs Jones in her 80's cannot get an officer to attend to her problems with vandals or whatever. If they issued every officer with a brush and shovel perhaps we could brush the streets and keep them clean.

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On 25/07/2019 at 22:00, Zulu 22 said:

There is only one place to take them, A & E for correct medical intervention. We/You are not medically trained and should not be playing at being a medic or doctor. We have not got the manpower or expertise to do this. Meanwhile Mrs Jones in her 80's cannot get an officer to attend to her problems with vandals or whatever. If they issued every officer with a brush and shovel perhaps we could brush the streets and keep them clean.

Zulu it’s a nasal spray. If a heroin addict can be trained and issues with one of these I think a couple of wooden tops will manage just fine.

There’s no side effects to administering it on someone who hasn’t opioid overdosed and I think we all know what an OD looks like.

I for one would rather have it in the first aid kits in the car than take the chance waiting on an ambo or pumping a chest for half an hour.

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On 25/07/2019 at 20:11, SimonT said:

Hmm, not sure I would be carrying this sort of thing. We don't have an issue with these drugs, certainly not enough to warrant carrying them. 

What if you get it right, wrong, someone dies etc. Not a process I would like to go through. 

You have kids had explained, as has the OP, why it may not be appropriate for your needs and yet could be beneficial to others.  You’ll be fine as it clearly says it’s for volunteers .  There is training and not as if the kit will be handed out randomly.    

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I agree I would have rather taken a chance with something that can’t cause harm if administered to someone who hasn’t OD’d than watch someone die and then have to start CPR 

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I was trained, along with many other uniformed officers, to administer a similar treatment to reverse the affects of a heroin overdose.  Im unsure why the West  Mids are claiming to be the first.  Maybe it’s because I was trained to use the injection version and this is nasal based.  

 

The training and administration was very simple and was akin to using an Epipen. You uncap the needle and jab in into them, preferable a fleshy part.  The results were instant but what they don’t tell you is they can go from being at deaths door to attacking you.  Plus the affects of the treatment where off and they can slip back into overdose.  However the benefits of using it over not far outweigh any of my concerns   

 

Would people on here who have concerns be adverse to not helping or administering  an Epipen to someone suffering anaphylaxis? 

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  • 4 months later...
On 27/07/2019 at 01:32, Mazza said:

Zulu it’s a nasal spray. If a heroin addict can be trained and issues with one of these I think a couple of wooden tops will manage just fine.

There’s no side effects to administering it on someone who hasn’t opioid overdosed and I think we all know what an OD looks like.

I for one would rather have it in the first aid kits in the car than take the chance waiting on an ambo or pumping a chest for half an hour.

I get your point entirely and can see the obvious benefits. However, “waiting on an ambo or pumping chest for half an hour” will likely continue to be the case whilst we paper over the cracks in the broken Public Sector. 
 

This is a huge mission-creep. What next, Ambo being given cuffs, ASP and spray or send them to Suspects-on? 


Yes, I fully understand ‘the Oath’ and preservation of life (et. al), but clearly lines are being blurred here. I do not feel comfortable administering any drug to any person, nor will I without having studied science, chemistry and become a medical practitioner. We have enough to do - with more and more being dumped on us (particularly health concerns) - without more “oh it’s okay, Plod are on scene. We will downgrade”.

 

Watering-down and masking the bigger issue. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received this training with MerPol last year. We didn't get issued Naloxone, but I have used it on someone having a heroin overdose when they had it on them.

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On 27/07/2019 at 09:07, Pathca said:

I agree I would have rather taken a chance with something that can’t cause harm if administered to someone who hasn’t OD’d than watch someone die and then have to start CPR 

can’t cause harm? Side effects can include:

Complete Stoppage Of The Heart

Decreased Oxygen In The Tissues Or Blood

Fluid In The Lungs

Rapid Ventricular Heartbeat

Seizures

Trouble Breathing

Ventricular Fibrillation, A Heart Rhythm Disorder

 

Besides, speaking to medics it works that well they often jump up, fight, run off then risk it wearing off and ODing alone.

Also, the mission creep is worrying. I’d accept it if medics started carrying cuffs to stop MH patients walking off. But they don’t.

Edited by SD
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I don’t see the issue. It is an extension of ‘first aid’ and will only be issued to those Officers working in specific areas whom have been trained. If you don’t want to deal with homeless people, don’t work in Birmingham City Centre. I was based there for 2 years and I wouldn’t feel sympathetic to someone who feels that they can cherry pick what they do. 

Just putting it out there but I wouldn’t fancy doing CPR on a homeless person and whom is probably covered in vomit- but I would if I had to. I also wouldn’t fancy an incident dragging on for months whilst waiting for an Inquest.

If there is an alternative that would buy time before a Paramedic can be on scene and would allow the person conveyed to hospital then what are the logical arguments against such a nasal spray not being made available?

As an aside, I recently came back from a diving trip in Egypt a couple of weeks ago where there were four cops from Ohio onboard. I overheard one saying that he attended two overdoses during one shift where Naloxone was administered by cops. None of them were happy that this had now become their role but they also acknowledged that the war on drugs had been lost and that you cannot arrest your way out of the problem. These were four burly US cops whom said that the US was in a grip of a ‘mental health crisis’ and acknowledged that law enforcement were often the first responders to that. They reluctantly now acknowledged that dealing with that was their job...

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