Pubdate: Sat, 08 Oct 2016
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2016 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Kevin Rollason
Page: B1


WINNIPEG police officers will soon join fire and paramedic emergency
workers in carrying the antidote to fentanyl overdoses.

Deputy police chief Danny Smyth confirmed to the Winnipeg Police Board
Friday they are working with health officials on how officers can
carry doses of Naloxone and administer it.

Smyth said one concern is the lifesaving drug can't be used in
temperatures lower than 4 C. According to various pharmaceutical
websites, the drug works at temperatures up to 25 C.

"We will have to figure out how officers will carry the drug," he

"We are hoping to have something worked out in one or two

Smyth said there have been three drug-overdose deaths in the last
week, and police are still waiting to see if they were related to
fentanyl use.

But Smyth said they have little choice but to figure out a way police
officers can administer the drug.

"We are going to encounter people who have overdosed," he

And Smyth added that, based on an experience in the United States
where officers using a stun grenade were overcome after inadvertently
exploding fentanyl bottles, "we are becoming more aware of officers
being exposed to airborne particles."

Coun. Scott Gillingham (St. JamesBrooklands-Weston) said he's glad
police are working with both the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service on the issue.

"This is a dynamic situation, and the police board will be in regular
communication with the service as to the service's needs and response
to address these drug calls," Gillingham said.

"The board is committed to officer safety. Any concern the service may
have regarding potential risk to their members in dealing with
fentanyl calls will be discussed with the board and addressed

Last May, almost 400 firefighters in the city were given the ability
to administer the emergency medication that reverses the effects of
opiates including fentanyl.

The firefighters and paramedics are administering the drug by needle
into the thighs or shoulder muscles of patients.

Last year, firefighters and paramedics responded to almost 100
fentanyl overdoses in the city, and of these, about 45 per cent saw
the people in cardiac or respiratory arrest.
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