WA police to carry naloxone following NDRI evaluation

September 2023

Police officers in WA will carry the rapid opioid overdose medication Naloxone following a 12-month trial that was evaluated by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI).

The trial, a joint initiative of WA Police and the Mental Health Commission that ran from mid-2021 to mid-2022, involved training police in using naloxone to assist in managing opioid overdoses that they attend in the community.

The trial saw 365 WA police officers become the first police in the southern hemisphere to carry naloxone, with the nasal spray successfully used to treat 20 drug-affected people. More than 500 WA police officers have now been trained in how to administer the fast-acting medication.

The evaluation found:

  • naloxone training was effective in increasing police officers’ knowledge associated with opioid overdose and improving their capacity to recognise and manage these overdoses in a prompt and effective manner, and
  • there was an overall increase in police officers’ knowledge immediately after training in recognising signs of an opioid overdose or that increase the risk of opioid overdose and the action to be taken when witnessing an opioid overdose.

“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,” WA Police Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Region Brad Royce said.

“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.”

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

Click here for a summary of the evaluation findings and here to register for the ‘Answering key questions on naloxone’ webinar, where Dr Seraina Agramunt will present a summary of the evaluation findings