PARAMEDIC SERVICES WEEK 2021
Paramedic as Educator: Citizen Ready
So, What Can YOU Do?
Education, Prevention and Early Action (Citizen Ready) will be the biggest influencing factors in addressing many aspects of opioid overdoses (and any addiction). Special attention and efforts to vulnerable populations is crucial if successes are to be gained and impact to a reduction of the increases seen over the years. While this is not a crisis that any one profession or organization can address on its own, each community partner and stakeholder needs to be involved. Pairing up with a local group to find small synergies to contribute toward the goals desired is a simple yet effective start. Many provinces have numerous supports available. Find out what they are locally and provincially and after you have educated YOURSELF, help to educate and support those in need whom Paramedics encounter either on (9-1-1 patients) or off-duty (personal, family, friends).
Learn about Naloxone if you live with or know someone at risk of overdose from opioids. Naloxone is a safe medication that temporarily reverses the effects of opioids. Naloxone can be given by a spray into the nose or by an injection into the muscle. Naloxone takes between 2 – 5 minutes to work and can last in the body for 20-90 minutes. Having the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, and having access to a naloxone kit, can save someone’s life. Naloxone kits DO NOT replace the need for emergency services; calling 911 is still necessary. If you suspect someone is overdosing, and you are unsure of what they have taken, you will do no harm by giving naloxone. Side effects are extremely rare. Calling 911 is critical – once the naloxone wears off, the person is still at risk of overdosing again.
NALOXONE DOES NOT REVERSE AN OVERDOSE OF ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS.
Naloxone is available from many sources, pharmacies, Public Health agencies and even paramedics.
Algoma Public Health
Opioid Resources Ontario
Public Health Ontario (https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/mental-illnesssubstance-use/opioids)
Canadian Mental Health Association—Ontario: Reducing Harms (https://ontario.cmha.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/CMHA-Ontario-Reducing-HarmsUpdated.pdf)
Ontario Ministry Of Health (https://health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/opioids/)
Opioid Resources Canada ▪ www.canada.ca/opioids
Government of Canada Toolkit (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/problematicprescription-drug-use/opioids/toolkit/awareness-resources.html)
Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addition (www.ccsa.ca/opioids)
Center for Addiction and Mental Health (https://www.camh.ca//-/media/files/5217-opdsaddic_primer-pdf.pdf)
Opioid and Stimulant-Related Harms in Canada (https://health-infobase.canada.ca/substance-related-harms/opioids-stimulants/)
EMS Specific Data (https://health-infobase.canada.ca/src/doc/SRHD/UpdateEMSMarch2021.pdf)