They can also be used to:
- Control moderate to severe cough,
- Control diarrhea, and
- Treat addiction to opioids (1)
‘Opiates’ was an original term for legal and illegal ‘drugs’ that were derived from opium itself; opium, heroin, and codeine are examples. Opium naturally comes from the gummy substance found in poppy plant pods.
Synthetic opioids include illegally obtained fentanyl and prescription medications “such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor”. (2)
Along with relieving pain, these ‘drugs’ can cause euphoria; a mellow high. Prolonged use can cause addiction and taking too much in a short period of time can cause an overdose (acute expose to too much of a medication) that could result in death. (3) Individuals who become addicted to opioids can be treated using medications (with no addictive qualities) that mask the withdrawal symptoms associated with an addict not having the drug in their system. These medications include methadone and others. (4) The antidote for an opioid overdose is naloxone (Narcan®). When delivered in a sufficient dose, naloxone rapidly binds to the opioid receptors and blocks the opioid and briefly reverses the effects of the opioid. (5)
Ontario’s Fire Fighters believe ALL of Ontario’s professional fire fighters should be equipped and fully trained to administer naloxone. With the rapid arrival of fire fighting crews along with their current medical skills, lives can be saved in communities all across Ontario.