Paramedics in Manitoba will soon follow a new drug protocol, which will allow them to administer an antipsychotic medication to methamphetamine users, the first jurisdiction to do so.
The drug, Olanzapine, is administered to agitated people with high methamphetamine content and at risk of psychosis. Oral tablets help reduce or prevent the intensity and duration of symptoms.
"I think today what Manitobans saw was an immediate response to what we learn in communities every day, from paramedics, from doctors to nurses to doctors," Health Minister Cameron Friesen told reporters after the announcement.
Manitoba is the first jurisdiction in Canada that allows paramedics to administer Olanzapine to consenting patients, after consulting a supervisor. The practice is currently used in Australia and New Zealand, depending on the province.
The drug will improve safety not only for methamphetamine users, but also for paramedics who deal with the unpredictable behavior of patients with high methamphetamine content, Friesen said. He also pointed out that the province still has a lot of work to do when it comes to fighting the province's methamphetamine crisis.
"We have not yet done everything we have to do," he said. "We are totally committed to this work."
The new protocol will take effect in early December.
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