Advertisement
Canada

Montreal first responders to be trained in use of naloxone as ‘additional tool’

WATCH: Montreal's fire department has a new tool in its kit — one that could be the difference between life and death in drug overdose situations.

Several Montreal fire trucks now have a new piece of equipment that many firefighters started using earlier this spring.

It’s a naloxone kit, an antidote to opioid overdoses, that the city says is vital to saving lives.

“We now have an additional tool that will help us restore somebody’s breathing on their own,” says Richard Liebmann, deputy director of the Montreal Fire Department.

“Every one of out 1,725 first responders will be trained with naloxone.

READ MORE: McGill student teaches how to save lives with naloxone

The first responders are being taught by Urgences-Santé paramedics, and so far more than 1,500 have been trained.  They began issuing the kits end of March and the training has come in handy.

“Since we started using naloxone, we’re at over a dozen calls where we’ve administered naloxone, of which at least 10 of them the patient started breathing on their own by the time paramedics arrived,” Liebman tells Global News.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: (Sept. 19, 2018) Naloxone kits and how to use them

Naloxone kits and how to use them
Naloxone kits and how to use them

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says though there is no crisis in the city yet, it’s still important for the firefighters to have this training in addition to paramedics.

“Summer is here, there’s going to be festivals, people are going to be celebrating, and maybe there’re more people interested in using drugs,” she says, but quickly adds, “First of all, don’t.”

But cases of opioid overdoses are on the rise.  According to the Canadian government, there were 424 apparent opioid-related deaths in Quebec in 2018, almost doubling that of each of the last two years.  That’s why one naloxone advocate says that while the training is a good first step, more needs to be done.

According to the Canadian government, the death rate in Quebec was 5.1 per 100,000 population for 2018. (Shared Services Canada/Global News
According to the Canadian government, the death rate in Quebec was 5.1 per 100,000 population for 2018. (Shared Services Canada/Global News Shared Services Canada

“The real first responders are the people that make the call,” explains Richard Davy, a student of Social Work at McGill University.  “When we consider how quickly someone can lose brain function without oxygen, these are the people that still need to be trained on how to use naloxone.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Canadian drug companies facing $1.1B lawsuit over opioid crisis

He has taken it on himself to give free lessons on how to use the kit, and wants to see the city push more public awareness campaigns so people understand how important it is know how to use the kit.

Because by the time firefighter first responders get to a patient, he says, it may be too late.

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories