Saskatoon firefighters equipped to deal with fentanyl overdoses
Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (The Canadian Press/HO - Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 12, 2017 2:01PM EST
SASKATOON - The Saskatoon Fire Department says firefighters are now carrying an antidote to help reduce fentanyl and opioid overdoses.
Assistant chief Rob Hogan says fire department primary care paramedics are equipped with naloxone, which can restore breathing to someone experiencing an overdose.
Hogan says according to provincial health statistics, overdose deaths have risen dramatically for the past six years and this is the stark reality of the job first responders face.
Fentanyl is an opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, oxycodone or morphine.
Police have said many people unknowingly ingest fentanyl -- which cannot be seen, smelled or tasted -- when it's laced into other drugs.
Hogan says that also puts everyone responding to an overdose call at risk because the smallest exposure from residue on a patient could kill a paramedic or another emergency worker.