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First responders continue to adapt to opioid crisis

Last Updated May 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm PDT


First responders still working to understand drug crisis

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the death toll from the overdose crisis continues to worsen in BC, staying safe on the job has become a major issue for first responders.

Police, paramedics and firefighters got a crash course in opioid safety at the Justice Institute of BC Wednesday.

RCMP Sgt. Eric Boechler says because of their potency, opioids have changed everything first responders do with drugs, from what they wear to how they handle and submit evidence. He says many first responders are still learning about the risks of opioids and that lack of knowledge can lead to fear.

“At first, I didn’t know anything about Fentanyl. When I started to learn about it, I started to get very fearful of it. I moved beyond that through literature and through resources of ‘why is it dangerous’ and ‘where am I going to find it?’ Once I got beyond that, I could safely do my job.”

Bechler says it’s a challenge for first responders to keep up with the ever-changing drug world, but he hopes classes and education will help.