CISSSO working group:
Opioid overdose warnings arrive here!
The Public Health Department of the Outaouais Centre for Health and Social Services (CISSS) reports that opioid overdoses have increased among drug users. The department has formed a working group with the CISSS, ambulance and paramedic services, the Gatineau police, the city, the Centre for Intervention and Addiction Prevention, the Regional Office for AIDS Action, school boards -- and the coroner’s office. The group has exchanged information with similar efforts elsewhere and will create an action plan.
To reduce the risk of overdose, CISSS recommends drug users not use drugs alone and not take more than one at a time or mix drugs and alcohol. They suggest starting with a small amount to see the effect and to set one’s dosage, lowering it when life conditions have changed, for example, change in health or weight, or if one is in a detox program or has been hospitalized.
The CISSS warns that using non-medical sources is risky – a friend, dealer or the Internet. There is no way to be sure of what is in the dose. The recent spike in fentanyl overdosing is due to illegal labs making pills to look like prescription Percocet or Oxycondin, but with fentanyl in them.
If an overdose is suspected and the person cannot be resuscitated, call 911 immediately. An overdose antidote, naloxone, is available on order at most pharmacies. Naloxone is safe, injected into the victim’s muscle, and blocks the effect of opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, morphine, methadone, Percocet and other drugs within five minutes. With a prescription, people who have insurance will be reimbursed for most of the $200 cost of Naloxone.