Frontline police officers to be equipped with potentially life-saving spray to save drug overdose victims
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Northamptonshire Police launch Nyxoid nasal spray pilot
Police officers in Northampton and Kettering will soon be equipped with a medical device designed to save the lives of drug overdose victims.
The Force is to take part in a 12-month pilot project, working with Public Health England and CGL (Change Grow Live) to train and equip selected officers with a Nyxoid nasal spray.
Officers from the Northampton Central and Kettering Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be trained and certified in the use of the spray, along with the Armed Response Vehicle crews.
The move follows a recent increase in the number of drug-related deaths from synthetic opioids, including isotonitazene and fentanyl.
These drugs act in a similar way to heroin and are highly addictive – but unlike heroin they are entirely synthetic and about 500 times more potent.
While so-called street heroin overdoses remain, sadly, relatively common, regular users do build up a tolerance in the brain.
However, the body’s restriction on breathing does not build as quickly and street heroin, when mixed with opioids such as fentanyl puts them at extreme risk of fatal overdose
The pilot, working with Public Heath England, CGL and S2S, will mean some frontline officers are trained to use a Nyxoid nasal spray which can be used to counteract the effects of the overdose and prevent a person from dying, pending emergency medical support from ambulance.
The spray delivers Naloxone up the nose where it is quickly absorbed and blocks the drug from affecting the body. The reaction is usually very quick and prevents the opioid from blocking the breathing centres of the brain which would cause suffocation - the main cause of death in opioid overdose – and in turn buying valuable time to keep the subject alive pending arrival of paramedics.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Watkins, who is heading up the latest Week of Action targeting Drug Harm, said the spray had been successfully trialled by a small number of forces including West Midlands and Police Scotland.
He said: “Sadly, we are encountering more drug overdose victims, in part due to the proliferation in the use of highly dangerous synthetic drugs.
“Naloxone gives frontline officers an opportunity to administer a vital lifeline to users who have overdosed on heroin or heroin cut with synthetic drugs.
“The uptake will be on a voluntary basis but at the end of the pilot we will explore the impact of the trial to determine whether we continue to equip officers going forward.”