Seven people have died from fentanyl overdoses in the last week

Firefighters, cops now carry naloxone

Firefighters are finishing up their training in dealing with opiod overdoses, following a provincewide push to stall fentanyl-related deaths

Sooke firefighters and police officers can now dispense opioid antagonist naloxone, which reverses drug overdoses.

Firefighters are finishing up their training in dealing with opiod overdoses, following a provincewide push to stall fentanyl-related deaths.

Fentanyl has crept over Vancouver Island like a black veil of death, sweeping away lives of even the most seasoned drug users, seven in the last week alone, which is why all first responders, not just the B.C. Ambulance Service, can now administer naloxone (also called narcan) to someone who has overdosed from opioids.

Two-thirds of the Sooke fire department is trained, with eight more firefighters left to go (out of a total of 28), said assistant fire chief Matt Barney. The remaining firefighters will be qualified by month’s end.

Though initiated by thr B.C. Health Ministry to help deal with the increase of fentanyl and opioid drugs, Barney said narcan training is an important tool for first responders.

“It gives us that ability to stop that process for them and give them a better chance of surviving,” he said.

“It’s more on the first responder, because usually it’s not the hardcore users we’re worried about, but the recreational users that won’t always know what they’re getting.”

Barney said Sooke Fire crews have come across overdoses in Sooke, but could not confirm whether fentanyl was involved.

It’s also a matter of safety to the first responders, who could encounter airborne fentanyl when assisting a patient.

“If we come into contact with an opioid drug through trying to deal with the patient, we can respond to ourselves and administer it to our fellow members,” Barney said.

Training on the administration of narcan has been developed at the national level for the RCMP as well. Every officer in the Sooke RCMP detachment is trained and carries a naloxone kit, said Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.

Island Health is also urging potential users of opioids to make sure they don’t use alone, and have someone around who is able to seek or provide help if an overdose happens.

This warning applies to all methods of drug consumption, either by injecting, inhaling, snorting, smoking or consuming with alcohol.

Island Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said based on recent overdose deaths, street-bound individuals are at the highest risk of overdoses, regardless of whether they are in a housing facility, private home or shelter.

“The drugs on the street are more potent and dangerous than they have ever been before,” Stanwick said.

 

Just Posted

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

Hundreds of foreign species still washing up on B.C. coast, eight years after tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read