Advertisement

Saskatoon paramedics sound alarm over spike in narcotic overdoses

Saskatoon’s Medavie Health Services West says it’s alarmed with a recent spike in overdose calls.
Saskatoon’s Medavie Health Services West says it’s alarmed with a recent spike in overdose calls. File / Global News

Saskatoon paramedics with Medavie Health Services West (MHS West) are sounding the alarm over nine overdoses in three days.

Troy Davies, director of public affairs for Medavie, said he was alerted by paramedics on Monday that they’re seeing a lot of critical overdose calls.

READ MORE: ‘Extremely busy’ year for Saskatoon paramedics

“[All nine patients] were all in respiratory distress when we arrived on scene. Luckily, we were able to get them all back with the administration of Narcan… and because of the severity of those of the last three days, we wanted to get that message out there. Just so people were aware,” he said Tuesday.
Story continues below advertisement

“It’s alarming. Those numbers are extremely high for us in the short period of time.”

Davies said they won’t know exactly what these patients have taken until a full tox screen is done.

“All we can report on is, basically, the severity and that Narcan is working on these patients because they were a true narcotic overdose,” he said.

Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper discusses crime trends in the beginning of 2020
Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper discusses crime trends in the beginning of 2020

Davies said these nine patients, aged 19 to 55 years old, were extremely lucky and asked them to avoid a next time, as the outcome may not be positive.

“You never know what you’re going to get. It’s all mixed differently, especially when you’re dealing with street drugs. You never know exactly where you’re taking… and the severity could cost you your life,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“That’s kind of like the Russian roulette of using drugs.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon paramedics asking all patients to wear surgical masks

MHS West’s weekly report for April 20 to 27 showed a total of 53 overdose calls.

“It’s very stressful for our paramedics this time, especially with what’s happening in the world and what we’re seeing daily with our PPE restrictions [due to the COVID-19 pandemic] that we have to wear on every call,” Davies said.

“And to throw this in there is just another added stressor on really something that shouldn’t even be happening.”

Medavie also responds to Warman, Martensville, Osler and other smaller communities around Saskatoon.

Medic Minute: The lasting impact COVID-19 will have on paramedics
Medic Minute: The lasting impact COVID-19 will have on paramedics