Blogs from Police &   
 other Emergency Service Workers

Ambulance: Methamphetamine

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

There is not a lot of methamphetamine use in Connecticut.  I rarely encounter patients high on meth as a paramedic.  I understand there is a fair amount of meth use in certain subcultures in the state, but in general those subcultures rarely generate 911 calls.  We are a huge opioid fentanyl state.

That may change.  I attended a seminar on meth use today (METHAMPHETAMINES 101 FOR PUBLIC HEALTH taught by Justin Alves of the Boston Medical Center, sponsored by the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) that was very informative.

The word is that meth is coming.  While fentanyl has been moving westward, meth evidently is moving eastward.  Here are some of my notes from the presentation:

Stimulant deaths are on the rise, but they are often linked with opioid use.

Polysubstance use with methamphetamine is the norm.    It is often used with alcohol and amyl nitrate.

Stimulants are used by about 2% of the population, but by up to 6% in the sexual minority community (Note: this is the first time I have heard the term sexual...

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Ambulance: Meditations of an Overcast Day

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe


It has been a great summer here as far as COVID goes, low numbers, very few cases.  On the ambulance we all wear our face masks, and I wear a face shield when I remember to grab it, and while I carry my isolation bag into the scene with me, I haven’t put on a gown for months.  The fire department, who used to gown their crews before it seemed they even stepped out of their trucks, is rarely seen in gowns anymore.This week, the NBA finals begin, the hockey Stanley Cup was decided, a full slate of college and NFL games were played and major league baseball begins its playoffs.  Not that long ago, it seemed they were talking doom and gloom that all these seasons would shut down again once they tried to start.  Those declarations haven’t proven true.  Yet.  Breaking news today of an NFL team -the Tennessee Titans – who have had a number of players test positive putting next Sunday’s game in jeopardy.

It is overcast this afternoon with periods of misty rain.  I’m sitting in the car watching my daughter’s...

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Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

For obvious reasons this blog has and does post on topics usually associated with magistrates courts, magistrates themselves and associated matters connected with the justice system. Today a little commented upon appeal in regard to the law on abortion was lost by Christian Concern although its underlying motivation was in all likelihood shared with right wing religious communities of other denominations. As a  non religious family man who was overjoyed at the safe delivery of a baby I have also held doubts about late onset abortion where although very unlikely a foetus might survive if given the opportunity there is an understanding that for some women an abortion is the lesser of some or many unhappy outcomes. I feel this post is apposite owing to  this week`s appointment by Donald Trump of a dedicated Catholic woman opposed to abortion to the position of Supreme Court Justice in USA.  The mere fact of her succeeding a fiercely liberal woman in the post at such short notice politically has increased interest in...

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Ambulance: Coming in April 2021

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

As posted a few days ago, I am pleased to announce Johns Hopkins University Press will be publishing my newest book, Killing Season A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic.  The book will be released in April 2021, but is available for preorder now on Amazon.

Preorder Here

The book tells the story of how I went from a new medic 25 years ago who believed that heroin users had major character flaws and that telling them to just say no or they will end up dead or in jail was the solution to the problem, to a proponent of harm reduction, which recognizes that addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease and whose victims deserve our compassion and not our scorn.  In the book I share the stories that users have told me after I have resuscitated them, stories that show how they were all normal like the rest of us until fate, usually an injury or illness sent them down a difficult path they couldn’t have imagined and which many were powerless to stop.

Topics include Stigma, the History of the Opioid...

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Ambulance: Spirits Filled with Light

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

The Boss is Back.  Bruce Springsteen just released his best rock anthem in years.  “Ghost.” 

I was no fan of his last album where he embraced his tendency to sing about stoic defeated men, wistful for their pasts.  In Ghosts, he summons his past, and his past fills him again with fire and light. 

If we ever have stadium concerts again and we will, the crowd will roar singing the chorus “I’m Alive!”

I grew up on Springsteen.  “Born to Run” came out when I was in high school.  His music is my church, his songs my spiritual touchstones. 

He gave me the strength to be my own person, and yes, the courage to pursue my dream of being a paramedic.

Now, as I age (I am 9 years younger than him), I have looked to him as to how to age.  That’s why I was so angry with his last album that seemed to me like he had given up his fire and rage against the darkness.  Here with this song and hopefully others like it on the new album coming out later in October,  he is back with the band, back believing in the promised land.   


Ambulance: Twitter and Social Media

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

At the behest of the people at Johns Hopkins University Press, I will be expanding my social media presence to help promote my new book.  I have done this blog for over 16 years, but have not yet ventured onto Facebook or Twitter, which I will now embark to do.

Today while watching football (Go Pats!) I have set up my Twitter account and even tweeted twice.

My Twitter account will cover all topics paramedic, including addiction and COVID, as well as a few personal tweets.  I also have a fledgling Instagram account.  I will appreciate anyone who wishes to follow me.  Thanks for your support.

Medicscribe on Twitter

Medicscribe on Instagram

Be my first Twitter follower!  I have 0 at this moment!

Ambulance: Goaal!

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

Over the years I have missed many sporting events of my children, although I have always done my best to try to get there.  Since I went part time earlier this year, I have made every one of my daughter’s softball, basketball and soccer games.

Instead of being in the front seat of an ambulance posted on a street corner, I was sitting near the corner of one of our town’s soccer fields watching my daughter’s team when she got this breakaway.

View this post on Instagram

Goaal! So glad I took the day off.#goal#messi

A post shared by Peter Canning (@medicscribe) on

After she scored, the coach looked around and seeing me said, “You saw that?”

Yes, I did.

Ambulance: Reporting on EMS Opiod Data

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

Great article in The Hartford Courant about the first year’s worth of data from the SWORD project, which collects EMS reports of opioid overdoses.

First report on Connecticut’s real-time, opioid overdose tracking system reveals higher number of cases in Hartford County

I was also interviewed by the local FOX news channel about the project.

UConn Health: Opioid data reporting project is saving lives


(The long hair and mustache are my COVID look.  One of these days I will get back to the barber.)

Thanks to the Hartford Courant and Fox 61 for reporting on this important project and issue.

Police: #OfficerDown

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I originally wrote much of what follows last summer – in the desperate days that followed the killing of PC Andrew Harper. Little more than a year on, the agony of history is repeating itself.

Officer Down.

Most give what they can; some give all they have. Sergeant Matiu Ratana – known to all as Matt – was one of those who gave everything. He was murdered in the line of duty in the early hours of Friday 25th September 2020. 

I never had the privilege of knowing him, but I know exactly what kind of man he was – one who understood that precious, old-fashioned thing called duty. The tributes paid to him – by colleagues, friends, local community members, rugby players and coaches, defence solicitors and even some of the prisoners he dealt with in custody – have been extraordinary. People loved him. He was “one of a kind”, “highly respected”, “an inspiration to all who knew him”, “friendly, capable and lovely”, “larger than life”, “big in stature and big in heart”. In every photo I have seen of him, he is...

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Ambulance: Killing Season

Written by RSS Poster Medic Scribe

Coming in April 2021 from Johns Hopkins University Press.

Now available for preorder on Amazon.

Killing Season: A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic

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