WA Police equipped with lifesaving opioid overdose treatment

Western Australian Police Officers are adding a new lifesaving tool to their kit, in the form of a rapid opioid overdose treatment.
  • Rapid lifesaving opioid treatment Naloxone added to WA Police Force tool kit
  • Allows first responders to administer vital treatment before medical help arrives
  • State-wide rollout comes after successful Australian-first trial

Western Australian Police Officers are adding a new lifesaving tool to their kit, in the form of a rapid opioid overdose treatment.

Naloxone is a quick, easy to administer medication which temporarily reverses the effects of drugs such as heroin, oxycontin and fentanyl.

A year-long trial - which ran from 1 July 2021-30 June 2022 - saw 365 WA Police Officers become the first police in the southern hemisphere to carry Naloxone.

During that time, the nasal spray was successfully used to treat 20 drug-affected people in the Perth and Bunbury regions.

More than 500 WA Police Officers have now been trained in how to administer the fast-acting medication.

Naloxone also provides additional safety for officers should they encounter highly toxic opioids during the search for, or, processing of illicit drugs.

Some opioid forms - such as fentanyl-derivatives - can be unintentionally inhaled or absorbed through the skin, posing significant risk of accidental exposure.

New South Wales and South Australian authorities have approached the WA Police Force for advice as they consider similar programs.

Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:

"Naloxone is an important tool for frontline officers which allows them to receive urgent care, should they accidentally be exposed to dangerous drugs on the job.

"It also means police can take lifesaving action when they're the first responders to an opioid overdose.

"Dozens of Western Australians have already benefited from this program and that number will increase as more and more police start to carry the nasal spray. 

"This State-wide rollout is nation leading - and we look forward to working with other jurisdictions as they too consider equipping their officers with the lifesaving treatment."

Comments attributed to Health and Mental Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

"Any harm or death related to the misuse of opioids is a tragedy, and I congratulate WA Police on this important initiative.

"The WA Naloxone Program, being delivered by the Mental Health Commission, is leading the nation and it is fantastic that the successful WA Police pilot is now being rolled out State-wide.

"Naloxone is an important tool for officers to have access to in the field as it reverses the effects of opioid overdose and helps a person who has experienced an overdose to breathe normally."

Comments attributed to WA Police Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Region Brad Royce:

"The WA Police Force went into this trial knowing from experience that our officers can be first on scene to medical emergencies, and this trial has proven that providing police officers with Naloxone to administer in certain circumstances contributes to improved health outcomes and in some instances helped to save lives.

"The primary role of every police officer is to protect life, and this trial has shown this is another way we can achieve this in situations we are likely to come across as police officers.

"The State-wide rollout will also provide an extra layer of protection for officers who may be inadvertently exposed to dangerous opioids in the course of their duty, with this training making it possible for them to receive enhanced immediate first aid from their fellow officers."