Pubdate: Sat, 11 Feb 2017
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Calgary Sun
Author: Meghan Potkins
Page: 2


While EMS and 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. the information comes as the
Calgary Police Service prepares to roll out its own fentanyl antidote
kits and naloxone training to officers starting on Feb. 28.

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

Across Canada, RCMP have administered the antidote 79 times since
October. On just six of those occasions, the overdose victim died.

"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 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.

Peters emphasized that the antidote shouldn't be viewed as an "easy
fix" by fentanyl users.

"When you're unconscious and not breathing for a period of time, that
has a long term effect on your brain. Just being alive doesn't speak
to the quality of life you may have as a result," Peters said.

CPS said it's expecting to have all of its mandatory naloxone training
for members completed by June 30.
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