Prison guards in Alberta are overdosing on fentanyl during searches and there are serious concerns the next exposure could be fatal.
In the past three weeks, seven guards at two institutions have been exposed to the highly toxic drug. Three were hospitalized after Narcan — a medicine used to treat opioid overdoses — was administered, according to the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.
“We’ve had some significant exposures, some officers have been sent to hospital in an ambulance,” said Ryan DeBack, a vice-president with the union.
“It’s a huge problem.”
Bowden officer rushed to hospital
The latest incident took place at the Bowden Institution on July 21 when a guard was searching a vehicle in the parking lot of the prison, according to a source.
Despite wearing a surgical-type mask and gloves, the guard in his 20s was exposed to what’s believed to be fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more potent than heroin. Co-workers administered Narcan after the officer lost consciousness.