Pubdate: Fri, 02 Feb 2018
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Chatham Daily News
Author: Ellwood Shreve
Page: A1


Lambton Kent District school board is following measures taken by some
other Ontario school boards to provide help if a student has an opioid

Superintendent Gary Girardi said trustees were advised at Tuesday's
board meeting in Sarnia that naloxone kits will be placed in all high
schools across the region by month's end.

He said the board has been working with the Chatham-Kent and Lambton
public health units, which are providing staff to train high school
office staff on how to administer the nasal spray.

Several Ontario boards have kits in schools and staff trained, he

"While we don't see any immediate need to use them, we want to be
prepared to assist students should the need ever arise," Girardi said.

He said the Lambton-Kent board is "acting on the advice of our local
health units" that the kits are safe to use and a good step for the

Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health, Dr. David Colby, said
naloxone is "remarkably nontoxic," easy to administer and can save a
life if someone suddenly overdoses. "It's a simple, safe, lifesaving

Colby said if somebody mistakenly believes a person has overdose and
administers naloxone, it won't hurt that person.

He compared the safety of naloxone to public-accessed defibrillators,
noting many people who use one may never have used the device before.

"But they won't shock people who don't need it," Colby

He noted the devices are so sophisticated that if a person has a good
heart rate, a shock won't be administered.

"It's a similar public health enhancing, low-risk strategy," Colby
said. "But if someone stops breathing, it doesn't take long for brain
damage to ensue."

If you can get the person breathing again, they'll likely have to go
to the emergency room, but their chances of recovery will be greatly
improved, Colby added.

"There's some merit to the fact that it is a simple administration . .
. there's no safety concerns should it be used," Girardi said.

He added those factors made it an easier decision to put the kits in

Girardi also noted the kits help the board abide by Ontario's Good
Samaritan legislation for helping people who are in distress.

The opioid crisis in Western Canada brought about by the prevalence of
the deadly drug carfentanil has seen naloxone kits widely distributed
in B.C. schools.

An alarming number of opioid-related overdoses in eastern Ontario has
seen several boards make kits available in schools.

These include the Ottawa-Carleton District and Ottawa Catholic boards,
the Upper Canada District board in the Cornwall area, the Limestone
District board in the Kingston area, and the Catholic District school
board of Eastern Ontario, which also has kits in its elementary schools.

The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic
District school board also has introduced the kits and Waterloo Region
District board is considering kits for its schools.
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