Naloxone kits help Calgary firefighters prevent 25 fentanyl deaths since mid-December

Calgary firefighters are using their newly acquired naloxone kits to help reduce the death toll caused by fentanyl overdoses.

25 potential overdoses prevented since crews started carrying kits in December

Calgary firefighters have been carrying naloxone kits since late last year. (City of Calgary)

Calgary firefighters are using their newly acquired naloxone kits to help reduce the death toll caused by fentanyl overdoses.

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth says 25 patients have been saved since crews were supplied with the kits mid-December.

Naloxone is a drug that can be injected to temporarily reverse an overdose of fentanyl or other opioids, allowing the patient to then get emergency medical help.

Between January and September of 2016, Calgary saw 82 suspected fentanyl overdose deaths, according to numbers provided by Alberta Health Services.

'It wears on our people'

"For our people to continue to see that level of despair in people and addiction in people, it wears on any of our people of course," he said.

"Especially if you have kids of your own, you come away thinking, boy, I hope my young person isn't using the same kinds of products or being exposed to this."

About half the calls the fire department receives are for medical emergencies, and in about half those calls, firefighters are the first responders.

Roughly 1,300 front-line responders were trained to administer naloxone.

Last February, the province began making naloxone kits available at drug stores.