Fire department undergoing training to administer Naloxone

Victoria firefighters will have the ability to carry and administer Naloxone to prevent drug overdoses.

Amidst the rising number of overdose deaths in the community, Victoria firefighters will have the ability to carry and administer Naloxone to prevent drug overdoses.

Over the next two weeks the Victoria Fire Department will learn how to administer naloxone — an opioid antidote given to someone suffering a drug overdose on fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine or heroin.

The antidote is usually injected into the upper arm, leg or buttock. If administered quickly, it can act in as little as five minutes and reverse the effects of an overdose.

The protocol requires staff to get approval from the on-call doctor at the British Columbia Emergency Health Services emergency physician online support program prior to administering the antidote.

“The goal is to expedite training to enable staff to provide this enhanced level of care, recognizing the need in our community,” said a report presented to Victoria city council last Thursday.

Naloxone kits will be carried in first responder medical bags at a cost of $8 per kit, with a recommendation of 10 kits initially.

Victoria ranks sixth in the province when it comes to illicit drug overdoses. In 2015, there were 17 illicit drug overdose deaths. Most recently, there were eight suspected drug overdoses at Victoria’s tent city in December.