B.C.’s Health Ministry says firefighters in Surrey and Vancouver will now be able to carry and administer Naloxone.
The drug is used to try and save the lives of patients suffering opiod drug overdoses.
Community-based paramedics will also be able to carry and administer the drug.
Last year, the province dealt with 465 overdose deaths, an increase from the year prior.
Fentanyl was detected in 30% of those.
Vancouver’s police chief hails move
VPD Chief Adam Palmer says to have first responders like firefighters and paramedics, all of whom are highly trained medically, carry the drug is a fantastic move.
But his officers won’t be.
“From the police department’s perspective, I haven’t changed my position. We are not going to be issuing that to officers at this time because they are needle-based, and I don’t want the officers having to inject needles into people. But we are definitely interested in some sort of nasal spray that they use in American police departments. We have expressed our interest in that to Vancouver Coastal Health so we are following up with them.”
A Naloxone injection, if applied in time, can prevent an overdose death related to such drugs as fentanyl.