A combination of factors has caused the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board Paramedic Division to be strained over the past 18 months.
After hearing that Niagara Falls had 105 overdose related calls last month, we reached out to Mike Nadeau, CEO of the DSSAB for the numbers in Sault Ste. Marie.
“We had 75 calls for such service in July last year and 77 calls in 2021. These include suspected opioid related, non-opioid related and alcohol related calls,” said Nadeau.
Opioid calls refer to drugs like Fentanyl, while non-opioid would be considered cocaine etc.
Nadeau said this puts the service in a difficult position at times.
“The opioid crisis has added significant strain on our local paramedic system and paramedics as a whole. Often times community members suffering from addiction also have additional untreated healthcare needs. This was one of the
factors as to why we fully supported the Community Wellness Bus,” said Nadeau.
Knowing Paramedics are human like the rest of us, we asked him what kind of strain this may be putting on the workforce.
“The paramedics within our service are highly trained, highly skilled professionals who provide excellent service to the community. However, the increase in mental health and addiction calls over the past few years, combined with the pandemic, have added significant strain to the team,” admitted Nadeau. “We are currently working with Algoma University to explore areas of micro credentials specifically focused on mental health service and triage techniques and strategies.”
As always he encourages anyone who notices someone in need of immediate medical care to call 911. The dispatchers and paramedics are trained to assign and attend the most serious calls first.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction you are encouraged to reach out to any of the resources available to you through organizations throughout the city.
Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to cover the adverse effects of the pandemic and addictions crisis is having on our community.