St. Catharines Firefighters to use Naloxone to help opioid overdose victims

To combat a wave of opioid related overdoses, St. Catharines firefighters are being trained to administer a life-saving drug to patients.

Hamilton Fire Department is gearing up to follow in their footsteps.

One minute is all it takes for Naloxone to reverse an otherwise fatal opioid overdose.

“If they are unconscious due to an opioid emergency, there’s not a lot can we do if airway management doesn’t work.” says one of the firefighters.

That will soon change. this week St. Catharines firefighters are training to become the first fire department in niagara to provide Naloxone to patients.

While the drug can be administered through the veins, muscles or the nose, firefighters are being trained to administer Naloxone through the nose. They will use an applicator, insert it into the nose and simply click down.

The move comes after the province expanded its Naloxone program to include police and fire services in december.

Over the past three years, St. Catharines firefighters have responded to around 70 overdose calls a year.

“We think here in the city of St. Catharines that our situation is maybe more unique, we felt for us the timing was right to get into this”

Hamilton may be next. The fire department is meeting with the Board of Health on March 19th to get approval for program participation. While the Burlington Fire Department says its something they’re considering.

Another line of defence in the war against opioids.