POLICE Scotland has completed its roll-out of a drug which can reverse overdoses, with the officer who led the initiative saying it has already saved lives.

The force announced a year ago it was to issue Naloxone – which can be used to reverse opioid overdoses – to around 12,500 officers.

On Thursday, International Overdose Awareness Day, it confirmed the roll-out is complete, and police have administered Naloxone on at least 325 occasions.

Police have been given individual pouches containing the spray to be worn as part of their standard issue equipment.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Richie, who led the programme, said the use of Naloxone is part of a “public health approach to preventing harm”.

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He said: “We’ve had positive outcomes in the overwhelming majority of incidents, and I am in no doubt that by doing so, our officers have saved lives.

“I very much hope that by officers carrying it in a highly visible manner, it will encourage other people to learn about Naloxone, and consider carrying it themselves.”

Stressing Police Scotland’s commitment to “doing all we can to combat the insidious effects of drugs in our society”, he said the force will continue work at a local, national and international level “to stop drugs from reaching our communities”.

Pc Jenna Minshull has administered Naloxone twice, including to treat a person who collapsed beside her in Glasgow.

She recalled being on foot patrol with a fellow officer in the city centre when a person who was unsteady on their feet and slurring their words came towards them.

Pc Minshull called 999 after the person “slumped to the ground”, adding that she was advised to give Naloxone after they became unresponsive.

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She said: “I gave one dose of the intra-nasal spray, and after a few minutes I gave a second dose.

“The casualty’s condition improved and soon after the ambulance crew arrived and took over the patient’s care.

“I’m confident to use the Naloxone kits, particularly as they’re a spray and so easy to administer.

“It’s reassuring to know you can’t overdose on it or do anyone any harm by giving them it. I’d certainly far rather have it to hand to use if needs be than potentially see someone potentially die if I didn’t have it.”

Drug policy minister Elena Whitham praised police for their efforts and said: “The roll-out of Naloxone training has no doubt resulted in many lives being saved.

“Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths, but it plays an important role.

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“Of course, we want to help people long before they get to the point of a life-threatening overdose.

“We are taking action now to save and improve lives with an evidence-based approach – implementing policies that we know work to reduce harm and deaths from drugs and focusing on getting people into support and treatment.

“We are investing a total of £250 million in our national mission on drugs over the course of this Parliament and have already supported 300 grassroots projects.”