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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.

RELATED: Manitoba launches fentanyl public awareness campaign

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.

RELATED: RCMP use naloxone kits for first time in Manitoba

“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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