Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Source: Revelstoke Times Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Marissa Tiel


Staff at Revelstoke Secondary School now have a new tool to keep
students safe. The high school received two Naloxone kits at the end
of September.

Naloxone is used to counteract the effects of an opioid

With a focus on student safety and well-being, principal Greg Kenyon
said that getting the kits was an obvious decision, despite the school
being low-risk for drug overdoses.

"It's just another thing we do and have," said Kenyon. "It's like
we're trained for responding to anaphylaxis and we're trained now to
respond to Naloxone and administering that."

The school district performed a risk analysis and superintendent Mike
Hooker said RSS was clearly in a low-risk zone.

"However, as part of attending to the safety of all students, it was
considered appropriate to have the kits on hand, to provide training
and raise awareness," said Hooker in an email. "In this way, a couple
of things happen. Students know that their safety is a priority, it
reinforces and encourages important dialogue regarding drug issues,
and in the unlikely event of an overdose, there are staff who know how
to provide support."

According to a BC Coroner's report, in an eight-month span this year,
from January through August, there were 823 deaths related to fentanyl
in the province. It's a 151 per cent increase over the same period in

According to that same report, only nine deaths affected those ages

In the Thompson Caribou Shuswap region, of which Revelstoke is a part,
there were 35 fentanyl-related deaths this year.

In 2016, the B.C. government declared a fentanyl drug overdose
emergency. It was the province's first-ever public health emergency.

Each year, the number of fentanyl-related deaths keeps going

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It's estimated to be 50-100 times more
potent than morphine and it can be cut into other drugs without a user

Of the 1,013 illicit drug-related deaths this year, 81 per cent were

Naloxone can be used if an opioid overdose is suspected. It attaches
to the same receptor sites as the opioid, knocking them off, but not
destroying them. Naloxone acts fast, usually within two to five
minutes, but it stops working after 20 to 90 minutes, so another dose
may be needed.

The two kits at RSS are injectable and work best when administered
into a large muscle like an arm or a leg.

The other type of Naloxone kit is a nasal spray, but is less
effective, said Kenyon.

The school's Naloxone kits, which are stored in the medical room come
to the school before its first AED, which is expected sometime next

All office staff have received training to administer

"At least one or more than one of us is easily reachable in a moment's
notice," said Kenyon.

There is still no concrete evidence that fentanyl has made its way to
Revelstoke, but local RCMP do believe it's in the community.

"The RCMP believes there's the presence of fentanyl in Revelstoke,"
said Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky.

He said the detachment has sent some white powders to a lab for
testing, but the results are not yet available.

There have been no fentanyl-related deaths reported in

"It's a growing concern. We haven't encountered it a great deal. We
know there is abuse of opioids," Grabinsky told the Review in 2016.
"We work hand in hand with BC ambulance service and EHS to address any
overdoses we encounter."

Local RCMP officers carry Naloxone kits with them. Within the last
year Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services also received Naloxone training
and now carries the kits as well. Paramedics are also equipped with
the drug.

Principal Kenyon said that with living in a small community, the staff
at the school are "pretty dialed in on what our students are doing,"
and that "there's no real concern yet."

"It was very clear that we had a very low probablity of the need to
use them," he said. "But if we ever had a situation, the consequences
of not having one on site would be extremely high."

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By the numbers

Fentanyl-related deaths in B.C. each year

2012: 12 * 2013: 50

2014: 91 * 2015: 152

2016: 659 * 2017 (Jan-Aug. 31): 823
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MAP posted-by: Matt