Pubdate: Sat, 11 Feb 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Meghan Potkins
Page: A10


While emergency medical personnel respond to the bulk of drug overdose
calls, RCMP and municipal police are increasingly drawn into the fray
as the opioid crisis continues to take its toll on Alberta.

Postmedia has obtained preliminary data on how frequently RCMP members
are administering naloxone on the job.

Alberta RCMP members have administered naloxone - an antidote used to
reverse the effects of fentanyl and other powerful opioids - a total
of three times since officers were provided with the nasal spray kits
last October.

The information comes as Edmonton fire Chief Ken Block said this week
his department is rolling out naloxone kits and associated training on
a station-by-station basis immediately. Edmonton police are also
contemplating whether to provide more patrol officers with naloxone.

Across Canada, RCMP have administered the antidote 79 times since
October. On just six of those occasions the victim of the overdose
didn't make it.

"I don't think we can understate how bad it is. This is a crisis that
is affecting all of Alberta," said RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters.

"Certainly there is value in police officers carrying the antidote.
Two individuals in the province are alive as a result, including one
of our own officers."

The occasions RCMP officers in Alberta have administered the antidote
have been few but significant, including when officers were called
upon to treat one of their own who accidentally overdosed while
executing a search warrant at a drug lab on Dec. 30 in Grande Prairie.

The other two incidents occurred in southern Alberta, generally
considered to be the hardest hit area of the province.

On Jan. 28, an RCMP officer in the midst of a call at a Red Deer
address became aware of a totally unrelated person suffering from an
overdose nearby and were able to administer the antidote before EMS
could even arrive.

And on Dec. 3 in Pincher Creek, RCMP officers were flagged down at the
side of the road to help someone suffering from an overdose in a vehicle.

The victim in that case did not survive.
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