Saskatoon and area paramedics experienced another record year in Narcan administrations to patients in 2023.

Narcan was administered to patients 744 times in 2023 (some patients received more than one dose so the number of patients would be lower). This is an increase of 109 administrations in 2022, and 612 since 2019 (pre-pandemic).

“Since the pandemic we continue to see a steady rise in the amount of patients who require Narcan,” stated Medavie Health Services (MHS) West Public Affairs Director Troy Davies. “Mental health and addictions is the number one issue in cities across Canada and as one of the fastest growing cities in the country this is something we will continue to deal with.”

Davies said the number could have been much higher if not for several factors. These include: the easy access of Narcan kits to residents; the ‘Narcan Exchange Kit Program’ MHS West currently operates in partnership with the Ministry of Health that has paramedics exchanging Narcan kits from ambulances; MHS West Community Paramedics; the overdose outreach program that’s running in the city of Saskatoon; and the thousands of people who have been trained on how to administer Narcan.

“On several occasions each month we are responding to calls for patients who have overdosed and already received Narcan from a friend or spouse prior to our arrival,” said Davies.