A police officer has told how he helped save a suspected drug overdose victim’s life by administering an emergency antidote on his first shift after being trained in its use.
Special constable Stewart Barclay was on duty in Glasgow on Saturday, five days after receiving training on the use of Naloxone, when he attended a suspected overdose victim.
He administered the nasal spray, which counters the effects of overdoses from opioids such as heroin and is being carried by some officers as part of a six-month pilot project.
Viewed as a first aid treatment, it can provide extra time for the ambulance service to arrive and take over emergency medical treatment.
Mr Barclay, 54, believes the man would have died if he had not been able to give him Naloxone before ambulance crews arrived.
He told the PA news agency: “I was out on duty on Saturday evening and we heard another car crew shouting for an ambulance to attend a male that had collapsed with a suspected drug overdose.
“I was conscious that within my subdivision I was the only officer trained and carrying Naloxone, and I shouted over the radio that we would also attend the incident.
“We made our way to the male and when we got out of the car I could see he was in a bad way, he had all the clear signs of a drug overdose, the pale skin, the blue lips, pinpoint pupils and shallow breathing and a pulse rate of 40 beats per minute, so I took the decision to administer the first dose of Naloxone at that time and there was a slight improvement in his condition.
“Unfortunately he relapsed and I then decided to administer a further dose. He subsequently improved for a couple more minutes then he relapsed again, at which point ambulance service had attended.
“The ambulance crew then administered 4mg more Naloxone and he reacted to that and was taken to hospital.”
The man has since made a full recovery and was released from hospital on Monday.
The pilot project in east Glasgow, Falkirk and Dundee comes in response to rising drug-related deaths in Scotland.
Carrying Naloxone is voluntary, but all frontline officers of the rank of constable, sergeant and inspector within the pilot areas will be required to undertake a training and education session after which they are asked to decide whether they wish to carry the drug and take part in the pilot project.
Mr Barclay, who has been a special constable for around 20 years, said: “One of the principal duties of a police officer is to preserve life and I firmly believe in this instance on Saturday night I was in a position to do that by administering the drug to this individual.
“I don’t think I’ve done anything that any other police officer wouldn’t have done, it’s part of my duty.
“I’m just glad I was there and able to assist in this instance.”
Mr Barclay, director of a building services company, added: “I believe had I not been equipped with the kit I wouldn’t have been in a position to preserve life in this instance until the ambulance service arrived.”
There were 1,264 drug-related deaths recorded in Scotland during 2019, a rise of 6% on 2018’s total of 1,187, according to National Records of Scotland data.