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Nasal-spray version of overdose antidote may save more lives

Responding to illicit drug overdoses is a daily occurrence for first responders on Vancouver Island.

As the province’s opioid crisis continues, wider use of Narcan, the nasal spray version of Naloxone, is being studied.

Dr. Shannon Waters, one of Island Health’s medical health officers, says it can be easier to administer, but may not be as effective in all situations.

“In some cases, the nasal Naloxone is a little less able to reach the bloodstream and reverse things,” Waters says. “So, we need to take that into account when we’re thinking about using things such as nasal Naloxone.”

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Dr. Waters says it may prove helpful in situations where a person trying to help an overdose victim feels more comfortable using the nasal spray.

As more people have died from overdoses over the first eight months of the year, than all of 2019, a Vancouver Island fire chief says the province needs to step up and put more resources in place.

Thomas Doherty of the Campbell River Fire Department says as the crisis continues, so does the burden on first responders.

Earlier this week, firefighters answered a call, and found four people together, all collapsed from an overdose in front of Campbell River’s courthouse.

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READ MORE: Four overdose victims saved by Campbell River RCMP, first responders

Firefighters administered overdose antidote naloxone by injection to one of the victims, and an RCMP officer rescued another with the nasal spray version. 

The dangerous drug crisis has firefighters and other first responders literally saving lives almost every single day.

– with files from Mike Patterson, Troy Landreville

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