Manitoba paramedics first allowed to give antipsychotic medication to meth users: province

Manitoba is set to become the first province in Canada to allow paramedics to give a antipsychotic medication olanzapine to people on methamphetamine.

The Government of Manitoba announced on Monday a new protocol to permit paramedics to administer the drug to agitated meth users at risk of experiencing psychosis.

“Paramedics have seen first-hand how a person’s behaviour can quickly change when they’re using meth,” said Minister of Health, Senior and Activing Living Cameron Friesen in a news release.

“By granting paramedics the ability to administer olanzapine, we are giving them another tool to protect their patients, themselves and others.”

The medication, which lessens or prevents the symptoms of psychosis, is currently used in a number of clinical settings.

Manitoba’s paramedics will have to consult with a supervisor before giving the oral disintegrating tablets to consenting patients.

“We are pleased to see that paramedics across the province will be able to administer olanzapine in cases of known or suspected methamphetamine use,” said Brent Bekiaris, chair of the Paramedic Association of Manitoba, in a news release.

“These patients can quickly develop paranoia and exhibit violent behaviour even while being assessed, so additional treatment options are needed.”

The protocol will come into effect in early December.