VPD frontline officers to start carrying Naloxone to prevent drug overdose deaths

Sep 9 2016, 4:26 pm

Frontline officers with the Vancouver Police Department will start carrying nasal Naloxone, a medication used to treat opioid drug overdoses.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer says officers on the frontline have come into contact with “highly toxic opioid drugs” similar to fentanyl on an increasing basis, which has necessitated the need to carry the medication.

“It is essential that we provide our staff with the medication that would be necessary in the event of an accidental exposure to toxic substances,” Palmer said in a statement. “There have been a number of reports where first responders in the United States have been exposed to opioids in the course of their duties. Closer to home in BC, we have also had officers come into contact with highly toxic opioid drugs; fortunately, there have been no serious injuries or fatalities.”

Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids like fentanyl, a drug that is suspected to have caused multiple overdoses in a short period of time at Insite, a supervised drug facility in Vancouver.

First responders in Vancouver and Surrey have started carrying the medication with them, including firefighters, and Health Canada made Naloxone available without a prescription in emergencies back in March.