Summerside Police Services’ decision to equip its officers with Narcan anti-overdose nasal spray has apparently helped save a life.
Officers recently had to administer Narcan to a man believed to have overdosed on Dec. 17.
That night, shortly after midnight, police were called to a Granville Street parking lot about an 18-year-old Summerside area man who had reportedly been acting erratically and was foaming at the mouth.
Shortly after police arrived the man fell unconscious and appeared to have stopped breathing.
An officer administered Narcan and the patient regained consciousness after a few seconds. He was transported by Island EMS to Prince County Hospital for further treatment.
This the first time officers in Summerside have used Narcan, said Cpl. Jason Blacquiere.
Every on duty officer started carrying two doses of the potentially life-saving medication in the spring. That decision was attributed to preparations for the appearance of Fentanyl in the local drug supply.
Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful opioid, estimated to be 100 times more potent than morphine, that has been plaguing western Canadian cities in recent years and police in Atlantic Canada have been bracing for it to start appearing here more frequently.
It is unclear whether Fentanyl was involved in this particular case. Opioid abuse in general has been a problem on P.E.I. for many years.
“The investigation is ongoing and we’re certainly going to try and find out the details as to what he may have consumed that night,” said Blacquiere.
“If those types of substances, like Fentanyl, are on the streets here than we certainly want to be aware of it and see what we can do about it in terms of enforcement. But at this point it’s too early to say (what the substance was). We haven’t had an opportunity to follow up with the young fellow just yet.”
There were five opioid-related deaths in P.E.I. in 2016 and 2,816 nation-wide.