Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2016
Source: Capilano Courier, The (CN BC Edu)
Copyright: 2016 The Capilano Courier
Author: Gabe Scorgie


VIU's New Overdose Kits Won't Lead to Increased Drug Use

I'm sure that at some point in history there was a time where 
people's safety and well-being was a primary concern. Maybe not for 
everyone, since no period of time is exempt from having a few nasty 
genocides and wars, but at least for the safety of the children and 
young adults of a community. Apparently, as liberal as BC likes to 
think it is, we still fall short of the mark.

Currently, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is introducing overdose 
prevention kits on campus due to a disturbing spike of Fentanyl - a 
drug 50 times more potent than 100 per cent pure heroin - being found 
in peoples' drugs and causing hundreds of people to die of overdoses 
in the last year. News of these kits has been received as mostly 
positive, but there is one particularly vocal group that's decrying 
the announcement under the belief that this will make more students 
want to try drugs. Now, sometimes it's not enough just to call an 
idiot an idiot. Sometimes you have to break things down for them 
step-by-step as to why their reasoning is poor, and their beliefs are 
stupid. So here we are.

First off, let's start by stating the obvious: no drug user is trying 
to overdose. News of the overdose kit isn't going to make people 
start eating pills of MDMA like they're Tic-Tacs. No matter how 
reliable these kits are, no student wants to have a near death 
experience every weekend. Instead, what these kits represent is the 
peace of mind that even if a night suddenly goes sideways and 
everything that could go wrong does, that the end result of a poor 
decision isn't making your family talk to the nice lady at First 
Memorial Funeral Services.

The kit comes with Naloxone, an antidote to Fentanyl that currently 
requires a prescription to get, though Health Canada is currently in 
the process of making the drug available over the counter for 
everyone. Naloxone blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system, 
counteracting the effects of drugs like Heroin which can depress the 
nervous and respiratory systems to the point where an overdose victim 
can't breathe. It can either be injected into the vein or sprayed up 
someone's nose. The drug has already been used in Halifax and 
Baltimore to great success. There's also the reality that even though 
your parents swear that you're not the type to do those things and 
that you spend every weekend studying and doing homework with maybe 
the occasional beer, there's a good chance you're going to be around 
drugs or on them at some point during University. Average university 
students that are going to do drugs aren't going to become addicts. 
They're experimenting because they're curio! us. By providing these 
kits, VIU is creating a safer environment for people who might 
otherwise be at risk.

The overdose kits are about ensuring the safety of students who will 
be experimenting with drugs regardless of readily available 
antidotes. As a rule of thumb, things that are about preventing 
people from dying should generally be embraced. So think of Naloxone 
as the condom of drugs - if you're going to do it, you might as well 
be safe about it.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom