Cornwall police receive Narcan training

Cornwall Police Chief Designate Danny Aikman and Chief Dan Parkinson review a 2017 use of force report during a police board meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Parkinson says the force is receiving training this month to treat people with Narcan for an opioid overdose. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

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CORNWALL – City police are receiving training this month to be able to treat people – or fellow officers – suffering from an opioid overdose.

It comes two months after the Ontario government approved all police and firefighters to administer Narcan (Naloxone) to treat an OD victim.

“The issuing of these kits, to us, covers off a requirement for us to protect our own front-line service providers. There’s always a risk…they could be exposed…to high potency opiates that could cause them medical distress,” Chief Dan Parkinson said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

“If we can’t administer this to ourselves then we’re no good to anybody else. The front line people need to know and do know, this is there to protect them as much as anybody else,” the chief told CNW.

But Parkinson seemed to be not overly concerned about having the drug to treat people, considering they are on the bottom on a tiered response to emergency calls. Typically, firefighters and paramedics would be first and second to the scene of an emergency drug overdose call.

Parkinson said front-line supervisors received their training on Feb. 7.

“We have purchased a number of kits to allow for our front line supervisors to have them available to them and we’re going to continue on with the training of all of our staff when we get into our block training,” Parkinson said.

The rollout is similar to the Tasers several years ago. A supervisor on any given shift would have the Narcan (Naloxone) kit available.

The chief said they have spoken to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which is working with the province on memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and protocols surrounding the cost and supply of these kits to all emergency services.

In the meantime, the police service had “had room” in its 2018 budget to purchase “a limited number” of the opioid overdose kits.

A call to Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, requesting comment for this story was not returned.