Revelstoke firefighters have been trained to administer Naloxone, a medication designed to counteract opioid overdoses.
“Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services recently jumped through the final approval hurdle and is now able to administer Naloxone as part of their medical overdose protocols,” they stated in a new release. “RFRS looks forward to adding this to the list of emergency services they provide to Revelstoke residents and looks forward to delivering this treatment in partnership with the RCMP and the BC Ambulance Service.”
The move comes as the number of overdose deaths continues to climb in B.C., mostly as a result of drugs being spiked with fentanyl and carfentanil – opioids that are far more potent than drugs like heroin.
“I will say we’ve probably attended overdose calls before, but they were few and far between,” Jim Blake, the assistant fire chief, told the Review. “In discussion with the RCMP, fentanyl is moving its way from Kelowna, which is the hub of the drug trade in the Okanagan, and it’s moving its way towards Revelstoke.”
The Revelstoke RCMP have also been trained to administer Naloxone and carry the drug with them on calls, said Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky.
“We’re prepared to apply it to any subjects we find or emergency responders affected by a contact with fentanyl or carfentanil,” he said, adding officers have not had to administer the drug yet.
Paramedics are also equipped with the drug.
According to the latest report from Lisa Lapointe, the province’s chief coroner, there were 755 overdose deaths in B.C. from the start of 2016 to the end of November, compared to 443 in the same period in 2015. Fentanyl was detected in 374 of the 2016 deaths, or about 60 per cent.