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FOT #17 - Opioid Crisis, Addiction, and Overdose Prevention

Flight of Thoughts

Release Date: 04/15/2019

FOT #32 - Non-violent crisis response, front line fatigue, and calibrating the nervous system show art FOT #32 - Non-violent crisis response, front line fatigue, and calibrating the nervous system

Flight of Thoughts

Here, I share some cases where we applied non-violent crisis intervention tactics to de-escalate persons in emergency situations, avoiding the need for police intervention.  One situation was during a major overdose, where the client was combative while he was in respiratory failure, the other features someone locked in a bathroom threatening staff. * The last month has been very difficult on the frontlines of the pandemic and opioid crisis.  Healthcare workers are experiencing high rates of clinical depression and many other frontline workers are feeling burnt out.  Lets catch...

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FOT #31 - Demystifying death, bringing order to chaos, and The Big Lebowski show art FOT #31 - Demystifying death, bringing order to chaos, and The Big Lebowski

Flight of Thoughts

Paramedic and podcaster, Chad Bartalone, joins me from Indiana  to talk about some of the more surreal and heavy topics surrounding emergency medical services.  We talk about how to take away the negative stigma of inevitable death, learning to appreciate and embrace it instead of fear it.  How do we normalize the conversation and bring more education and autonomy to patients?  Our discussion also covers how to bring order to chaos through radical acceptance and preparation for challenges.  We talk about how emergency services can do more for mental health training and...

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FOT #30 - Being trauma-informed, identifying prejudice, and our mental health continuum show art FOT #30 - Being trauma-informed, identifying prejudice, and our mental health continuum

Flight of Thoughts

Here comes another solo flight of thought I was having about how we can be better human beings by being "trauma-informed".  This leads into how to identify prejudice in ourselves and how it is programmed into us.   A major point focuses on the "mental health continuum" model that many first responders and healthcare workers have been introduced to.  Being aware of your mental health continuum and the signs that you are struggling can help you avoid falling into crisis, as well as empower you to maintain your most optimal functioning. * This pandemic and the civil rights...

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FOT #29 - Overcoming Psychological Dysfunction, Appreciating Death & Suffering, Mindfulness of Bio-feedback Loops show art FOT #29 - Overcoming Psychological Dysfunction, Appreciating Death & Suffering, Mindfulness of Bio-feedback Loops

Flight of Thoughts

Kai Carlsen has clinical experience as a Paramedic, Flight Respiratory Therapist, as well as building experience in clinical development and education.  He has worked in various settings from controlled hospital environments to the chaos of ambulance and aircraft response.  Kai has been growing through a journey of mindfulness, self-awareness, and peer support that allows him to remain optimal through his career.  We worked together early in my career and I always felt he had the perfect energy and intellect for emergency medicine.  On this episode we go deeper into some...

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FOT #28 - Identifying Stress Responses, Pandemic Mental Health, and Cannabis Enhancing Emotional Resiliency show art FOT #28 - Identifying Stress Responses, Pandemic Mental Health, and Cannabis Enhancing Emotional Resiliency

Flight of Thoughts

After an intense month with a car accident and a stressful work injury, I update everyone on how I have been coping with these and the growing pressure on the front lines of the pandemic.  Learning to identify your responses to stress can be an effective tool for overcoming challenging times.  How does stress activate certain thought patterns you have?  How does stress store as tension or discomfort in your body?  Learning your symptoms and how to work through them can push your from distress to optimal function  in your window of tolerance.  I also talk about...

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FOT #27 - Being mindful of your mental health during the pandemic, the various responses to traumatic stress, and the effectiveness of peer support show art FOT #27 - Being mindful of your mental health during the pandemic, the various responses to traumatic stress, and the effectiveness of peer support

Flight of Thoughts

I'm joined by my friend, Kai Carlsen, a former paramedic with experience on the ambulance, in a correctional facility, doing hospital triage, and as a medical communication officer.  He is currently certified as a respiratory therapist and worked in a large teaching facility, mostly in intensive care and transitioned to critical care flight respiratory in the arctic.  We talked about staying sane during pandemic isolation, various ways of coping with mental health struggles, and managing your own internal crisis as a healthcare worker.   We also discussed his experiences in...

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FOT #26 - Effects of Covid-19 on the opioid crisis, and managing self care as a first responder or frontline worker show art FOT #26 - Effects of Covid-19 on the opioid crisis, and managing self care as a first responder or frontline worker

Flight of Thoughts

In this episode I talk about how first responders and safe injection sites are continuing to battle the opioid crisis through this coronavirus outbreak in Toronto, Canada.  I also discuss self-care and how to avoid burnout while working on the frontlines.  The growing Covid-19 pandemic has started to put massive strain on healthcare systems and public health initiatives.  First responders and healthcare staff put themselves at risk to keep life-saving services running strong, despite how personal protective equipment supplies are running low and the stress of catching the...

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FOT #25 - Pete Tripp discussing how first responders cope with PTSD and what mental health initiatives can increase resiliancy in emergency services show art FOT #25 - Pete Tripp discussing how first responders cope with PTSD and what mental health initiatives can increase resiliancy in emergency services

Flight of Thoughts

Pete Tripp is an Advanced Care Paramedic with experience in many fields of paramedicine including as a flight medic.  Pete's journey is a powerful story from his start as a Janitor at his local emergency hospital to his spectrum of expereince he built as a paramedic.  He is open about his struggles with childhood trauma and finding his way as a troubled youth.  Through building up personal resiliency and never giving up, Pete was able to become an excellent paramedic and carry on through an incredible career.  He uses what he has learned over these years of experience to...

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FOT #24 - The cognitive importance of dark imagery, altered states of conciousness, and routes to enlightenment show art FOT #24 - The cognitive importance of dark imagery, altered states of conciousness, and routes to enlightenment

Flight of Thoughts

For this episode Daniel Greig joins me to explore themes surrounding trauma, darkness, and the complexity of the human experience.  He teaches me how dark imagery fits in to human cognition and how altered states relate to healing.  Daniel discusses how he is writing a book with Dr. John Vervaeke about the journeys we take through our lives on gaining insight, remaining grounded, and the various pathways to enlightenment!  The book is called "The Cognitive Continuum: From Insight to Enlightenment". Daniel is an educator, organizer and artist living in Toronto. He studied...

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FOT #23 - First Responders on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, integrating post-traumatic growth, and recognizing compassion fatigue show art FOT #23 - First Responders on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, integrating post-traumatic growth, and recognizing compassion fatigue

Flight of Thoughts

After experiencing some burnout and my first needle-stick injury, I am back on track and ready to share what I have learned.  Harm Reduction and other frontline workers of the opioid crisis are a section of first responders that are often forgotten about.  Harm Reduction Workers, Overdose Response Workers, and Community Mental Health Workers are underpaid and overworked because there is a lack of support and funding that other essential services are otherwise afforded.   Just how paramedics used to be misfit first responders, cast aside as mere "ambulance drivers",...

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More Episodes

Vito (@papaviitz ) joins me to discuss the opioid crisis in North America.  We cover the history of opioid use in our culture, both medically and recreationally. This includes the factors that caused this epidemic to get worse over the last 30 years.  The complexity of addiction and how opioids work on the brain are also discussed to help educate those who are curious. This includes how to recognize and respond to an overdose, using naloxone/narcan.

Overdose and suicide are the leading causes of death in North America, higher than car accidents and heart disease.  Opioid overdoses are on the rise due to many complex factors, such as over-prescription of pharmaceutical painkillers and synthetic versions being laced into street heroin. In the 1960s 80% of heroin users started with heroin.  In 2019, 80% of heroin users started because of a prescription painkiller.  Therefore, physicians are now limited in prescribing painkillers in Canada and many states. 

*When opioids overwhelm the receptors in the brain, they suppress the central nervous system. They can fully lose consciousness, pupils may constrict to pinpoint size, breathing stops or becomes ineffective, the skin goes very pale or blue/purple.  This will lead to death if it is not reversed immediately!

Play video of opioid overdose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL4-Umip_Cc

Overdose First-Aid

Signs/symptoms of an overdose:

-Blue/purple colour around face and lips

-gurgling or loud snoring sounds

-Unresponsive to shouting and shaking or aggressively rubbing sternum with knuckles

-Ineffective breathing or not breathing at all

First-Aid:

  1. Shout their name and shake their shoulders if the scene is safe
  2. Call 9-1-1 if they are unresponsive
  3. Give Narcan/naloxone (one dose of nasal spray or muscular injection)
  4. Perform rescue breathing by pocket mask and/or chest compressions

If there is no improvement after 2-3 minutes, repeat steps 3 and 4. Stay with them.

If the person begins breathing on their own, or if you have to leave them on their own, put them in the recovery position.  There is a high chance of vomiting and withdrawal, monitor ABCs.

*Healthcare Providers (HCP): Airway management and ventilation by Bag Valve Mask with oxygen; only beginning chest compressions if NO pulse!

The “Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act” provides some legal protection for people who experience or witness an overdose and call 9-1-1 for help:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/problematic-prescription-drug-use/opioids/about-good-samaritan-drug-overdose-act.html#a2 

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Instagram:

@jake_flightofthoughts

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Facebook Community Group:

The Psychedelic Society of First Responders and Emergency Workers

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This podcast is uncensored and covers many topics considered “taboo” or difficult for some individuals. We do not condone any illegal activities, as this is a platform for harm reduction and open-dialogue.  Although the ideas are mostly evidence-based and honest, the lines of reality and comedy may be blurred at times...this is your trigger warning!