Pubdate: Wed, 28 Sep 2016
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network
Author: Michael Lumsden
Page: A8


Following in the steps of Vancouver, Calgary police will soon equip
officers with a powerful drug used to counter opioid overdoses.

In his monthly update to the Calgary Police Commission, Chief Roger
Chaffin told the citizen oversight body that the deadly drug fentanyl
continues to plague the city, and he's hopeful the naloxone nasal
spray units will help save lives.

"It's good news for the officers, it's something that is our new
reality, and it's a good opportunity to make sure officers are
comfortable that if they are in a situation, we can recover (drug
users)," Chaffin said.

Earlier this month, Vancouver officials announced that the risk and
the prevalence of the drug on the streets meant it was necessary to
equip police officers with something that could save lives.

The nasal spray would allow officers to treat a person overdosing
without the use of needles, something typically handled by paramedics,
said Chaffin.

"You wouldn't just throw them (naloxone filled needles) at police and
say start injecting people," he said.

However, Calgary police must be able to step in and administer the
naloxone dose if an ambulance is too far away from the scene.

In the first six months of 2016, 153 people died from fentanyl-related
complications across Alberta, including 61 in Calgary.

Chaffin agreed with the sentiment of his West Coast counterparts and
believes other law-enforcement agencies across Canada will soon follow

"Right across the country, agencies will be accessing this. Since it's
a federal release, we will be taking advantage of it," he said.

However, Chaffin isn't suggesting that the model followed by Calgary
will be adopted across Alberta, as rural police units face their own
unique challenges.
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MAP posted-by: Matt