All B.C. paramedics, some firefighters, approved to administer life saving drug

By The Canadian Press
January 28, 2016 - 10:38am

VANCOUVER — Firefighters in Vancouver and Surrey, B.C., have been moved to the frontlines in the battle against the soaring number of overdoses and drug deaths.

Health Minister Terry Lake says certain specially licensed firefighters will be allowed to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses opiod overdoses, such as those caused by fentanyl.

Lake says the emergency medical assistants regulation has been amended to permit licensed fire rescue first responders to administer naloxone.

British Columbia’s 525 community-based paramedics are also included under the amendment, although paramedics with more advanced training have been administering the drug for many years.

Surrey fire chief Len Garis says fire crews are often first on the scene of an overdose emergency, so the new program will allow crews to deliver naloxone sooner, possibly saving lives.

Doctors will oversee use of the drug through an online program run by B.C.’s Emergency Health Services, linking emergency physicians to first responders in the field. 

The Canadian Press

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