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Successful Naloxone partnership extended after lives saved

31 August 2022

An innovative pilot project to prevent avoidable deaths from opioid overdose has been extended to Fenland after lives have been saved across Peterborough and Cambridge since it launched a year ago.

The nasal spray Naloxone counters the effects of overdose from drugs like heroin. Last year Front line Police Officers in Peterborough and Cambridge received training to carry and administer the lifesaving naloxone medication to intervene in an overdose situation and potentially save lives. Since officers started to carry the naloxone nasal spray, they have administered the lifesaving medication on 7 separate occasions.

And as part of a wider partnership approach to reducing local drug related deaths and the tragic impact on families and local communities, officers also provide guidance and signposting to local specialist treatment services ‘Change Grow Live’, where users can receive longer term care and support.

Superintendent Laura Hunt said: “Last year PC Adam Catling saved the life of a man in Cambridge by using the spray, which he had only been issued with 24 hours beforehand. Since then, our officers have used Naloxone on six further occasions – therefore potentially saving seven lives overall. We were delighted that officers in Cambridgeshire were among the first in the region to take part in the new project, which was rolled out to 56 neighbourhood officers across Cambridge and Peterborough and is also now due to be rolled out even further across the county. Currently we have 61 officers trained in using Naloxone and this figure will no doubt increase even more as the project grows.”

Jyoti Atri, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire, said: “I am so pleased to announce on international overdose awareness day that through our partnership with constabulary colleagues we’ve been able to prevent deaths from opioid overdose. Naloxone is a vital lifeline to users who have overdosed on heroin. We are also working with the police to enable naloxone kits to be distributed to drug users via police custody suite. Increasing access to Naloxone is an essential part of our local approach to reduce drug related deaths”.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough public health teams have worked closely with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the Ambulance service (EEAST) and the local drug and alcohol services (Change Grow Live) to implement the pilot.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary in partnership with the local Mental Health Trust (CPFT) and Change Grow Live are extending harm reduction work to enable overdose advice and distribution of naloxone kits to opioid users identified in police custody suites enabling those most at risk from overdose to carry lifesaving medication to prevent avoidable deaths.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show the rate of deaths (2021) related to drug misuse is down in both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

For more information about naloxone or support around drug and alcohol issues please contact the local treatment service Change Grow Live