Saskatoon

Police and paramedics see spike in overdoses in Saskatoon over the past few months

Paramedics and police in Saskatoon are using naloxone, an aid to block the effects of an opioid overdose, many times more frequently in the last few months than they did last year.

Police administer naloxone, an aid to block the effects of an overdose, 3 times in 4-hour span this week

A male was found dead June 20 between two buildings in downtown Saskatoon. (Morgan Modjeski/CBC)

Paramedics and police in Saskatoon are using naloxone, an aid to block the effects of an opioid overdose, many times more frequently in the last few months than they did last year.

In the most recent example, police administered the drug to three separate people in a four-hour span on late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. In all three cases, the two men and one woman were not breathing and had no pulse.

"These three calls highlight the difficult work our members do in a community that is, like many others, dealing with addictions and mental health issues," said Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper in a news release.

Police have used the drug 10 times so far this year. They administered it 12 times in all of 2019.

Paramedics are also bringing people back from death's door.

Troy Davies with Medavie Health Services West said that first responders used the drug on overdose victims 41 times in May, compared with 11 times in the same month last year.

In June, that number went to 49, from 13 last year.

They've already used it 11 times in the first week of July. Last year, it was administered nine times through the whole month.

AIDS Saskatoon is working to get a supervised injection site up and running in the city, despite the province balking at providing any money to run it. The group's executive director, Jason Mercredi, says it plans to go ahead on its own.

On Wednesday, he said that an announcement on when and where the site will be located and opening is expected in the next two weeks.

About the Author

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.

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