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Police officer saves life of member of the public

6 May 2021

A Cambridge neighbourhood police officer has saved the life of a member of the public.

PC Catling was first on the scene to reports that a man had collapsed in Cherry Hinton Hall Park on Saturday (1 May) afternoon and was unconscious but barely breathing.

The man, in his 30s, was found lying in the busy park after having taken a drug overdose.

On examination his breathing had stopped, so PC Catling used naloxone, a nasal spray he’d been issued with just 24 hours prior to the incident, before beginning CPR. Before he had completed his first set of compressions, the man had regained consciousness.

Officers in Cambridgeshire are among the first in the region to take part in a new project to help people who have overdosed on opioids. PC Catling is the first officer within the force to successfully administer the medicine since it was rolled out to 56 neighbourhood officers across Cambridge and Peterborough last month.

PC Catling said: “From when the report of an unresponsive patient with shallow breathing came in, to realising his breathing had stopped when I arrived, it was clear that naloxone was needed.

“Overcoming the instinct not to start CPR straight away felt different at first but I was impressed at how fast acting it was.

“Part of our role as police officers is to protect life and this new initiative ensures that if we are first on scene we can potentially save a life.”

The force are working with Public Health and the East of England Ambulance Trust to reduce local drug-related deaths and the impact on families and local communities.

Until recently, naloxone has only been available in injectable form but more recently a nasal product has been developed meaning officers are now able to administer the drug themselves without the need for medical staff.

The new initiative ensures the unconscious person gets help as quickly as possible and demonstrates the diversity of challenge police officers face.

Public Health commissioning team manager, Susie Talbot, said: “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Health Team are proud to be working with Constabulary colleagues on this lifesaving initiative. This first administration demonstrates the value that police officers carrying naloxone medication can really have in local communities.

“Every life saved not only reduces the pain and suffering of family and friends but provides a unique opportunity for users to be signposted to local treatment services for specialist support.”

For local advice and support around drug and alcohol issues, including naloxone, please contact Change Grow Live on 0300 555 0101.

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