A person suffering a drug overdose at the Cliff Avenue homeless camp Wednesday survived thanks to the help of a good samaritan prepared for such an emergency.
Ambulance and firefighters responded to a call about the overdose at about 1:45 p.m. The person was found lying on the street just outside one of the tents, at the east end of the camp, which is behind the Salvation Army on Lougheed Highway.
“One of the homeless people there had a Narcan kit,” said Dan Herbranson, civilian spokesman for the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
“Certainly, the administration of this boost of Narcan [naloxone] went a long way to saving this person.”
He didn’t have a name or age of the victim.
The atmosphere was tense at the camp as temperatures climbed, while fire, police and ambulance attended and a life hung in the balance.
Herbranson said he didn’t know what drug was ingested and pointed out the person needed medical care after the naloxone injection.
Fraser Health gives out free Take Home Naloxone kits to people to combat deadly fentanyl overdoses.
Fentanyl, a pain-killing drug, is 100 times more powerful than heroine.
Dr. Liz Zubek, who has a clinic near the Cliff Avenue camp, said the person who administered the antidote has been trained to do so and carries around a kit in case such incidents occur.
She wasn’t sure if he was actually a resident of the camp.
“He’s one of the street people who is responsible and who looks out for others.”
Zubek said there is drug use at the camp, but it’s minimal and most residents don’t support that.
“You can’t stop drug use completely.”
She said camp residents were upset that someone in one of the buildings on Cliff Avenue was laughing during the emergency.
The Take Home Naloxone kit includes two syringes, two doses of naloxone, rubber gloves and a breathing tube. The idea is to give them to friends or family of users so they’re handy if a drug user overdoses. Clients watch a video on how to administer the antidote before receiving the kits. If someone is overdosing, the naloxone can be injected into the major muscles right through clothing if necessary.
Alouette Addictions Society in downtown Maple Ridge has given out several such kits.