The Vancouver Fire Department says lives have already been saved thanks to firefighters being equipped with naloxone.
Vancouver Fire Chief John McKearney says seven people who overdosed were saved thanks to his firefighters injecting them with the drug to counteract the overdose symptoms.
“The first responders provide immediate ventilations, respiratory ventilations, that is very important but because they work in a team administering naloxone is th enext sequence of events.”
However not everybody is happy about it.
Sophia Georgas with the Ambulance Paramedics Union says firefighters need to stand down and let trained medics administer naloxone
“The first treatment for any overdose is ventilations and that is all they need to do until the paramedics come.”
In January Health Canada cleared the use of naloxone to be used by first responders.
B.C. has also dispensed more than 4,000 naloxone kits and trained more than 5,000 people to use them as a part of a pilot project to get them into the hands of the public.
Last year 463 people died of an overdose.