Firefighters on the front lines against opioid crisis
CTV Montreal Staff
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 12:32PM EDT
Firefighters at every station in Montreal have now been trained in how to treat overdoses with naloxone.
The drug is considered the best initial treatment for people who have overdosed on opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, or oxycodone.
Richard Liebmann of the fire department said paramedics from Urgences Santé trained firefighters across the city, so every station now has at least one trained person.
"Naloxone is a narcotic antagonist what it does is it blocks the receptors from being impacted by the opioid. So someone after administration of naloxone can come around very quickly," said Liebmann.
"Since we started using naloxone we're at over a dozen calls where we've administered naloxone, of which at least 10 of them the patient has started breathing on their own by the time paramedics have arrived."
However naloxone alone is not enough for a person who has suffered an overdose. If a person has been dosed with a large amount of opioids, the dose of naloxone given in an emergency could wear off before a person metabolizes the original drug.
"The person can stop breathing again," said Liebmann, which is why anyone who suffers an overdose must get to an emergency room.
Montreal's Public Health Dept. is urging drug users and their friends and families to acquire naloxone kits, which are available for free at pharmacies throughout Quebec.
With files from Matt Grillo