Pubdate: Wed, 26 Jul 2017
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Salmaan Farooqui
Page: A5


An Ontario music festival has reversed a policy that would have banned
attendees from bringing their own injectable naloxone kits, saying
patrons will be able to trade syringes of the opioid-overdose antidote
for a nasal spray that has the same effect.

The WayHome Music and Arts Festival, taking place this weekend near
Barrie, Ont., says it changed its policy after hearing concerns from
those who planned to attend.

Naloxone is an antidote to the powerful opioid fentanyl, a drug
responsible for a growing number of overdose-related deaths. Fentanyl
is sometimes found mixed with other drugs such as cocaine.

WayHome's previous policy didn't allow attendees to bring their own
naloxone-containing syringes at all. Instead, organizers said medical
staff on site would be the only people with the antidote. With the
change in rules, attendees will now be able to trade their naloxone
kits for Narcan, a nasal-spray version of the antidote.

"In an effort to meet the concerns of those in possession of
injectable naloxone kits, we will now be offering the spray in
exchange for the injectable alternative at the gate," festival
spokesman Todd Jenereaux said Tuesday.

Ottawa resident Maegan Mason was one of the attendees who had been
concerned about WayHome's earlier position. She said she was in
contact with the festival for the last week and was told she wouldn't
be allowed to bring her injectable naloxone kit. On Tuesday, she said
she was ecstatic to hear that the policy had changed.

"It's made my weekend feel a lot safer, and I have a big weight lifted
off my shoulders," Ms. Mason said.

The 19-year-old said the earlier policy had left her concerned that
someone experiencing an overdose wouldn't be able to find a medical
professional in time whilst in a crowd of thousands.

"Not only can you not see where the first-aid tent or where the medics
are, but they can't see you," said Ms. Mason, who said getting out of
a crowd that large could take 15 minutes.

If attendees have their own opioid-overdose-reversing kit, they could
administer the antidote and then find medical professionals, she said.
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