The Justice Institute of B.C. has launched a new website to support the safety of first responders who frequently come into contact with fentanyl.
While designed with first responders in mind, the online guide is accessible to the general public to help bolster awareness of the dangers of the highly toxic narcotic.
There have been 555 overdose-related deaths this year in B.C. between January and September, according to recent B.C. Coroners Services statistics.
On the front-lines, first responders are dealing with increasing calls, such as Vancouver's Fire Hall No. 2 in the Downtown Eastside where calls have nearly doubled since the introduction of the deadly opioid.
The website includes information about what fentanyl is and why it is so dangerous for first responders, safe handling of suspected fentanyl, and what Naloxone is and how it can save lives in cases of opioid overdoses.
The website also touches on more specific circumstances for particular jobs, from paramedics to police.
Corp. Eric Boechler, with the RCMP Federal Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response Team in B.C., said first responders having up-to-date information on handling fentanyl and overdoses is "paramount."
"First responders across the province are increasingly concerned about possible exposure to fentanyl during the course of their duties. This public health epidemic not only directly affects people who use drugs, and their families, but also the first responders in our community tasked with tackling this epidemic on the streets," he said.
With files from Canadian Press