Re­cent over­doses in Drumheller have RCMP re­mind­ing peo­ple of Good Sa­mar­i­tan Act

The Drumheller Mail - - News - Kyle Smylie

Drumheller RCMP say they sus­pect three sep­a­rate in­ci­dents of drug over­doses, in­clud­ing two fa­tal­i­ties and one where the per­son was re­vived, and wants to re­mind the pub­lic of the dan­ger of car­fen­tanil and fen­tanyl in street drugs.

De­tach­ment com­man­der Cor­po­ral Ed­mund Bourque says in the last two months they be­lieve two peo­ple fa­tally over­dosed on drugs sus­pected to have con­tained the pow­er­ful opi­ates car­fen­tanil and fen­tanyl. He says one per­son had over­dosed but emer­gency med­i­cal staff re­vived the in­di­vid­ual with Nar­can, a drug which re­verses the ef­fects of opi­oids in the body.

“It’s def­i­nitely a con­cern for us now,” he said. “Peo­ple can’t trust the drugs they’re buy­ing. They con­tain dif­fer­ent strengths and types of drugs like car­fen­tanil and fen­tanyl.”

Al­berta RCMP have been re­mind­ing peo­ple of the Good Sa­mar­i­tan Drug Over­dose Act this month, af­ter news of a young Bri­tish Columbia boy whose sus­pected over­dose death was live streamed on­line by by­standers.

RCMP say be­tween Jan­uary 2016 and De­cem­ber 2018, 1,971 deaths in Al­berta were at­trib­uted to ap­par­ent opi­oid-re­lated over­doses.

“Al­berta RCMP were dis­patched to sev­eral of those in­ci­dents and de­ter­mined that, in some cases, it is be­lieved by­standers, friends or fam­ily mem­bers were hes­i­tant to call emer­gency ser­vices for as­sis­tance due to con­cerns of po­ten­tial le­gal reper­cus­sions,” they say.

The Good Sa­mar­i­tan act is meant to en­cour­age peo­ple to seek emer­gency help dur­ing an over­dose by help­ing re­duce the fear of seek­ing po­lice or med­i­cal as­sis­tance. It ap­plies to any­one seek­ing emer­gency as­sis­tance dur­ing an over­dose, in­clud­ing the per­son ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an over­dose. The Act pro­tects the per­son who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the over­dose scene, as well as any­one else who is at the scene when help ar­rives. The act can pro­tect peo­ple from charges for pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance and con­se­quence of breach­ing con­di­tions re­gard­ing sim­ple pos­ses­sion in pre-trial re­lease, pro­ba­tion, and con­di­tional sen­tences and pa­role.

“Drug over­doses could hap­pen to some­one close to you – a friend, a fam­ily mem­ber, or some­one nearby. Stay­ing at the scene is im­por­tant to help save the life of the per­son ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an over­dose,” RCMP say.

They say wit­nesses should call for emer­gency help and ren­der what­ever as­sis­tance they can, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­ter­ing nalox­one – a fast-acting drug that tem­po­rar­ily re­verses the ef­fects of opi­oid over­doses – if it is avail­able, pro­vid­ing first aid, in­clud­ing res­cue breath­ing (CPR) if nec­es­sary un­til help ar­rives, and stay­ing calm and re­as­sur­ing the per­son help is on the way.

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