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Several Montreal boroughs banning employees from administering naloxone



Several Montreal boroughs banning employees from administering naloxone

As Montreal faces a rise in overdoses, several boroughs have banned their employees from administering the lifesaving opioid antidote naloxone.

Quebec Public Health recommends as many people as possible obtain the free opioid antidote to be able to administer it as quickly as possible.

It can be the difference between life and death.

“When you cross somebody on the street, you don’t know how long they’ve been unconscious,” said Alex Berthelot of Cactus Montreal. “You don’t know how long ago they used, you don’t know how long ago they stopped breathing, and so, I mean, it’s a life or death situation.”

However, when municipal workers in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie requested the antidote be added to their first aid kits, the borough’s response was “no.”

Municipal Workers Union president Patrick Dubois said that according to the borough, administering naloxone is too big a responsibility for the workers.

It’s a position that safe drug use advocates reject.

“Anybody, anybody, anybody can administer internasal naloxone,” said Berthelot.

According to the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), after calling 911, an overdosing person should be laid flat on their back and then a single dose of naloxone nasal spray administered into their nose.

If there is not an immediate response, CPR should be done for three minutes before another dose is administered.

“I don’t understand why you would prevent somebody from coming to the aid of another person that’s in distress,” said Berthelot.

The city councillor responsible for homelessness, Robert Beaudry, said in Ville-Marie and other boroughs, naloxone has been introduced in drug kits with positive effects.               

“We’ll be holding discussions with boroughs that haven’t yet done so, to raise awareness and encourage them to follow suit,” he said.

Health Canada said administering naloxone is safe for anyone of all ages.

CTV News reached out to the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough for comment and was referred to Beaudry’s statement. 

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