Drug Overdoses are on the Rise Keeping Frontenac County Paramedics Busy

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

The use of drugs is rampant — and drug overdoses just as bad and paramedics say it’s getting worse.     Mike Postovit has the numbers to back that up.

 

This is the criminal.     For those that don’t know — this is fentanyl.     One of the most potent, synthetic opioid pain medications out there.     Recreational use is on the rise — and that means people who drive these vehicles are busy.

Deb Cooper/Primary Care Paramedic

“Drugs are being cut — and drugs are more dangerous then they would have been — years ago.”

Deb Cooper is a paramedic with Frontenac County — it’s her and her coworkers that respond when someone’s in trouble.

Cooper

“We are busy overall.     But we are seeing more severe overdoses — in that people are complete unconscious and breathing much too slow — so a rate of three or four breath per minute which is not enough to get oxygen into the system and can effect the brain.”

Paul Charbonneau/Frontenac County Chief Paramedic

“What we’re seeing and how we can tell we’re seeing an increase is by the number of times our paramedics are using Narcan.     In 2015 — our paramedics only used Narcan seven times.     In 2016 — they used it 22 times and of course narcan is only used for the opioid overdose.     So far in 2017 — we’ve used it 21 times — that’s in a half a year — so extrapolate that out — we can expect that we will double what we’ve been using — so yes, it is going up.”

Dealing with an overdose can be risky for first responders as well.

Cooper

Fentanyl and in particular carfentanyl are both very toxic in small does such that if it ends up on our bare skin — it can be absorbed through the skin and cause respiratory depression — stop us from breathing — the same as it would someone who injected it.”

Charbonneau

“Our paramedics always protect themselves — they wear gloves, they’ve got to put a mask on, a respirator on.     They have those pieces of equipment.”

The paramedic service says unfortunately the message “don’t use drugs” is falling on deaf ears — as the numbers rise.     Mike Postovit, CKWS News, Kingston.

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