Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jun 2017
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Andrew Philips
Page: A1


While they've heard the county's concerns, city councillors want to
move ahead with a made-in-Orillia solution to equip first responders
with the necessary tools to help those experiencing severe allergic
reactions or drug overdoses.

Coun. Ralph Cipolla said Monday's unanimous vote makes perfect sense,
especially given how much confidence councillors have in local

"We have one of the best fire departments in Ontario, if not all of
Canada," Cipolla said.

Council's vote followed a presentation by County of Simcoe personnel,
who had been urging the city to allow its paramedic services
department to get involved in the process to ensure everybody across
the region receives uniform training when it comes to carrying and
administering epinephrine to deal with allergic reactions. But council
rejected that request and decided that local firefighters will not
only administer epinephrine, but also carry and administer naloxone, a
drug used to combat the effects of an opioid overdose by reversing its
negative effects so the person can breathe normally and potentially
regain consciousness.

Cipolla said having firefighters administer the potentially
life-saving drugs makes sense since time is of the essence when it
comes to severe allergic reactions or drug overdoses.

"They're the first to arrive on the scene. Paramedics arrive three or
four minutes after (on average)," he said, pointing out firefighters
also best know the city.

"It's so important because the fire department knows where everything

Cipolla, who also sits on the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's
board, said Orillia's "off the charts" when it comes to drug
overdoses, meaning the initiative needs to move ahead

"If the department saves one life, then it's totally worth

Council plans to review the project's initial one-year contract that
also involves collaboration with a local doctor before renewing it.

Prior to their vote, councillors heard from Jane Sinclair, the
county's health and emergency services manager and paramedic services
chief Andrew Robert.

Sinclair told council that the county's paramedic service is the
provincially legislated authority for the provision of pre-hospital
emergency medical services for the entire region, including in both
Barrie and Orillia.

She said that ensuring consistent, high-quality standards for the
safety of all residents remains a top priority for the county.

Besides the county, councillors also listened to a deputation by Dr.
Lisa Simon, associate medical officer of health for the health unit.

Simon, who noted that Orillia's average rate of opioid overdose
diagnoses has been higher than both Simcoe Muskoka and the province,
detailed how the health unit proposes to deal with the growing
problem, including increased public education to not only prevent
opioid use but to also identify the symptoms of a possible overdose.

According to health unit statistics, there were 43 opioid deaths among
Simcoe-Muskoka residents in 2015, including eight that were related to
fentanyl. From 2012 to 2015, there were, on average, 35 opioid deaths
per year, with one in four fatalities related to fentanyl.

The cost per dose for naloxone is $70. It costs $100 per dose for
epinephrine, a prescribed drug administered to those in anaphylactic
shock from an allergic reaction that can be caused by a bee sting or a
food allergy.
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