Police officers in Glasgow will carry the overdose antidote Naloxone in a pilot to allow them to intervene and help save lives.

Officers in G division, which covers the east of Glasgow, will carry the Naloxone nasal spray, in a six-month trail to start next year.

Police Scotland said the pilot is in response to the trend of rising drug related deaths in Scotland in recent years but the Scottish Police Federation is opposed to the move branding it a “PR stunt”.

The latest figures, which cover 2018 showed 1187 people died of a drug related death in Scotland and 280 were in Glasgow.

Naloxone can reverse the effect of an overdose for heroin and other opiates, which were present in more than 8 out of ten drug deaths in 2018, the most recent year with available statistics.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie, Head of Drug Strategy for Police Scotland, said: “There has been a great deal of careful consideration given as to whether our officers should carry Naloxone as an additional piece of equipment.

“In doing so, it is hoped the test-bed areas will show the value of our officers carrying this treatment as an extension to the existing extensive first aid training already provided by the organisation. We are committed to being proactive in our approach to tackling problem drug use in our communities through harm reduction, as well as dispelling myths while upholding our ethos of keeping people safe in our local areas.

“A full evidence-based evaluation of the test of change will be produced to inform any future decision whether Naloxone is rolled out to all officers.”

Police Scotland said it will be voluntary to carry the spray in the pilot but all officers will take part in a training session in giving Naloxone.

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents officers of all ranks, is against the pilot.

David Hamilton, Chairman said: “The number of drugs deaths in Scotland is a health calamity that needs urgent addressing but sticky-plaster initiatives like these divert resources from tackling the underlying problem.

“Nobody in the UK has died as a consequence of a Police Officer not carrying Naloxone, people have however died as a consequence of being given Naloxone.

“The stretching of the role of a Police Officer is a slippery slope and many could now fairly ask why we don’t carry ladders and hoses or even adrenalin, where more impactive lifesaving interventions could be made.”