Inmate revived by Headingley correctional officer after suspected fentanyl overdose

Naloxone, the antidote that blocks the effects of opioids in overdoses. File / Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

A corrections officer at a Manitoba prison revived an inmate after a suspected fentanyl overdose, according to the union that represents corrections officers.

The incident happened late on February 5 at Headingley Correctional Institute when the officer found an unresponsive inmate who couldn’t be revived. That officer then called for emergency services, including RCMP.

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The RCMP officer who arrived on scene gave their can of Narcan spray to the corrections officer. The Narcan spray, a brand of naloxone that blocks the effects of opioids in overdoses, successfully revived the inmate, according to Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU).

RELATED: Addictions Foundation of Manitoba to hold forums on fentanyl

“I’d say once or twice a week they’re doing something to save a life in a jail,” Gawronsky said.

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She said officers are concerned with the easy availability and increased risk drugs like carfentanil and fentanyl pose.

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“One officer explained to me that when someone’s coming in they have to  take their pens apart, now they have to search pens because you can actually have a little bit of it in a little baggy at the bottom of a pen,” Gawronsky said. “They’re fearful they’re gonna come into work one day and walk in facing a traumatic and deadly outcome.”

“The health and safety of inmates in our correctional facilities is a priority,” a province spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “There are protocols and tools in place for staff to respond to a wide range of medical issues and emergencies, including opioid overdoses, in a timely and effective way. However, we are not able to discuss or confirm details of inmates’ medical concerns.”

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