In just a few months time, New Tecumseth Fire Rescue will complete the contingent of emergency workers carrying naloxone kits while on duty. All frontline Ontario Provincial Police officers began carrying the kits in 2017 along with the Simcoe County paramedics who started using them in 2015.

Naloxone kits are designed to revive victims of an opioid overdose but also serve to protect emergency workers who make contact with unknown substances during calls. Frontline responders are also educated and given information on signs of overdose, specifically those relating to fentanyl. The drug tops the list of high-risk opioids, that also includes heroin and oxycodone, contributing to an increasing rate of deaths both locally and provincially. The Simcoe-Muskoka Health Unit (SMHU) reports eight out of every 100,000 deaths are due to an opioid overdose, with 46 deaths occurring in 2016 alone.

The SMHU, along with Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres, and area pharmacists have developed an opioid advisory working group to help counter the growing epidemic. The hope is that heightened vigilance from all corners of the industry will improve conditions surrounding prescription, and non-prescription, drug use and abuse.

For information, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/where-get-free-naloxone-kit