Police officers could soon carry life-saving medication to treat drug overdose victims.
Police Scotland is developing proposals to trial the carrying of naloxone nasal spray, which reverses the effects of people overdosing on opioid-related drugs such as heroin.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie is working with other organisations including the Scottish Drugs Death Task Force, police staff associations and the NHS to draw up plans for a trial.
If approved by the force executive, Police Scotland said it will mean a “small number” of officers carry the medication on patrol for use if necessary.
The results will be used to determine if the scheme should be rolled out more widely.
Mr Ritchie said: “Scotland has the worst rate of drug-related deaths per head of population in Europe and the devastating impact that drugs have on individuals, their families and wider communities is fully acknowledged by Police Scotland.
“Proposals for this test of change are being undertaken with a view to providing an evidence base that will help the police service and partners determine whether police officers carrying naloxone can help us to tackle the harm caused by drugs.
“Should this test of change be approved by the force executive following robust scrutiny, all officers who volunteer to participate will undergo extensive training in naloxone administration.”
Official statistics released last summer show there were 1,187 drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018, the highest number since records began in 1996.