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Calgary firefighters use naloxone kits 45 times in 6 weeks

FILE: A naloxone kit from Toronto Public Health is shown in a Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 photo. .
FILE: A naloxone kit from Toronto Public Health is shown in a Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 photo. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

In the six weeks since members of the Calgary Fire Department began carrying naloxone kits, they have been used 45 times.

Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth revealed the statistic at a committee meeting at city hall on Wednesday.

Firefighters began carrying naloxone in late December in an effort to curb fentanyl overdoses

READ MORE: Calgary firefighters now equipped with lifesaving naloxone kits

“We spent often a couple minutes with the patient prior to EMS arriving and to be there helpless in a situation where someone is suffering from an overdose from fentanyl or another opioid, we just figure we couldn’t do that,” Dongworth said.

“It’s surprising. I guess I wouldn’t have guessed us using it that much.”

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Ward 9 Counc. Gian-Carlo Carra, who chairs the Community and Protective Services Committee, wasn’t caught off guard by the stats.

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“We are in the middle of a bit of a crime wave in Calgary and it’s really the two major vectors that are causing that crime wave – the downturn in the economy and the introduction of this new opioid on the street,” he said.

“It’s killing people on a daily basis. This is something that’s ravaging our community. It’s ravaging communities across North America.”

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READ MORE: ‘We are in the middle of a crisis’ – fentanyl focus of two-day Calgary conference

Carra, whose ward includes the inner city community of Inglewood, said he feels the city has been has been mostly successful in dealing with the negative effects of the opioid crisis.