Why don’t all Ottawa first responders have naloxone?
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:43PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:11PM EST
In the wake of a number of overdose deaths in Ottawa, questions are being raised about why all first responders don’t carry the life-saving antidote naloxone.
Right now, only paramedics in the city are equipped with the kits.
The president of the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association says their members want to have access to the kits and some have even gone to a pharmacy to get one themselves.
“It’s a public safety issue as well as a firefighter safety issue,” said Peter Kennedy.
“I would feel terrible if one of my kids succumbed because firefighters weren't given that opportunity to respond with the antidote. I think any parent would just feel a missed opportunity is just totally inappropriate,” Kennedy said.
The Ontario Paramedic Association says this isn’t a turf war or about jurisdiction.
“We are arriving on time and we are providing treatment on time, therefore paramedics are doing the right thing by providing naloxone to their patients and it should remain that way as well as adding the naloxone kits for civilians to carry,” said Ashleigh Hewer, the president of the Ontario Paramedic Association and an advanced care paramedic in Ottawa.
Ottawa Police say the force is “exploring the need and costs” associated with the kits.
Mayor Jim Watson says to do what it takes to save lives.
“We’ve got to take the advice from our experts, our chief medical officer of health Dr. Levy, if he believes that our firefighters should have them, if our firefighters believe them, we should invest in them and have them on the trucks,” Watson said.
In British Columbia and Alberta all first responders have access to naloxone kits.
This month, the Barrie Fire department became the first in Ontario to be equipped with naloxone kits.