Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: Opioid crisis hits home, literally

I found two fire trucks and two ambulances parked in my driveway and along the adjacent street

Nothing brings the reality of the ongoing opioid crisis home quite as well as finding it, literally, in your own front yard.

I was working in my garden in the backyard of my house last Saturday when I noticed the sound of sirens in the distance.

There’s nothing unusual about that; I live on a busy road and the sounds and sights of emergency vehicles rushing along it at all hours of the day and night are pretty common.

But when the sirens got progressively louder until they stopped right in front of my house, I decided it was time to go see what was happening.

I found two fire trucks and two ambulances parked in my driveway and along the adjacent street, and emergency personnel were quickly converging on a large fir tree on the corner of my property.

I could see they were hunched over a young man with a beard, who appeared to be about 25, who was unconscious and it appeared to me that he was having trouble breathing.

The paramedics evidently knew exactly what was wrong with the man, however, and I watched them administer some sort of drug into him after giving him a quick medical once-over while he was laying on the ground.

I was astonished to see what I thought was a comatose man on the verge of death quickly sit up as though he had just laid on the grass to rest his eyes for a minute.

He looked frightened, confused and defiant all at the same time.

One of the paramedics who was observing the work of his colleagues saw me standing there and asked if I knew him.

I explained that it was my property and I came out of my backyard to see what all the commotion was about.

The paramedic took the time to explain that the man had overdosed on opioids and was given naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of the drugs, and that was what brought him around so quickly.

The paramedic said the man would be taken to the hospital where he would likely be assessed and monitored for awhile until it was determined that he had recovered enough to the released.

I really appreciated that the paramedic, who looked younger than the opioid victim, took the time to talk to a concerned looking passerby like myself and explain what I had witnessed.

I took a tour just last week of the overdose prevention site in Duncan and was told how the harm reduction workers there are trained to administer naloxone to deal with overdoses.

The staff were giving out naloxone kits for free and encouraged visitors to take one, once they were shown how to use it, to have in case of an emergency.

I find it unsettling that, while I deal with issues related to the opioid crisis almost everyday as part of my job, I never thought that it would have any bearing on my personal and private home life.

That imaginary bubble burst last Saturday.

Now I want one of those naloxone kits in my house just in case another episode happens like that again, and the paramedics may not be so fast in responding to the next emergency.

With no end to the opioid crisis in sight anytime soon, I fear and expect that it may prove useful at some point.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Duncan city council declares climate change emergency

“I think sometimes it’s important to start with identifying the fact that something’s real.”

Andrea Rondeau column: Second chance for dogs in Duncan bylaw a good idea

I’m not usually timid around animals, big or small.

Drivesmart column: Electronic monitoring pilot projects already underway

Our current system of trying to change driver behaviour largely consists of traffic tickets

Robert Barron column: Hats off to humanitarian workers

Saurazas didn’t seem to be fazed very much by the peril she was exposed to

Cowichan Valley jazz graduate wins prestigious scholarship

Bassist Brock Meades and drummer Graham Villette get $2,000 Fraser MacPherson Scholarship

Duncan Grande Parade draws a crowd

Entries old and new enjoyed by a big audience

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read