NORTH BAY -- Firefighters in North Bay are no longer administering naloxone nasal spray, following a recommendation from the province that suggested its use could increase their risk of contracting COVID-19.

The recommendation came from the Ontario Board Hospital System after medical research showed the inter-nasal spray used by firefighters and police in overdose situations can become airborne. 

This increases the possibility of putting those around the patient at risk, says North Bay Fire Chief Jason Whiteley. He added that the reaction to the drug is unpredictable and sometimes causes the patient to cough. 

Naloxone is a fast-acting drug used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, but in emergency services, it is not the primary step for treating a patient according to Chief Whitely. 

"When we arrive on scene we are still going to do our first assessment and our most prudent care for anybody in respiratory arrest is to breathe for them," said Chief Whitely,

When needed, naloxone will still be administered by emergency responders through injection. 

"We’re fortunate here in North Bay, as emergency services arrive kind of on top of each other," said Chief Whiteley. 

He said he wanted to ensure the community that even without firefighters using the naloxone kits at this time, proper medical care will still be provided for all overdose calls as the pandemic continues. 


Clarification on the discontinuation of naloxone in nasal spray form in title and copy.