May 04, 2017

being prepared for the opioid crisis

We have all read the disturbing news recently about the dangerous drugs Fentanyl and Carfentanil being sold, sometimes unknowingly, as recreational drugs and costing people their lives. As Ottawa Police and other first responders have learned, these dangerous drugs need to be handled very carefully.

This past week, Front Line and housekeeping staff members at The Ottawa Mission received some special training on how to keep themselves and others safe should they come across the powdered form of the drug in or around the shelter. Not only do our Front Line teams need to know how to respond to possible cases of Fentanyl overdose with the Naloxone kits, but they need to be trained on how to clean up the dangerous drug if found in its powdered form.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate narcotic, a prescription drug used primarily for severe pain – it is roughly 50 to 100 times more toxic than Morphine. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent then Fentanyl  and a dose as small as 20 micrograms of Carfentanil could be fatal to humans . Therefore, a special type of respirator mask, like the one pictured here, needs to be worn by staff if they encounter a suspicious powder, in order to avoid potentially dangerous exposure to the powder granules.

Our thanks to our Medical Clinic administrator Nada Murad and Ottawa Inner City Health administrator Sophie Wheeler – both trained Fit Testers – for providing the training to members of our Mission team and staff at other shelters as well.