Pubdate: Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Toronto Star
Author: Alanna Rizza
Page: GTA1


Overdose-prevention plan would equip 112 high schools and train some

Toronto District School Board high schools will soon be provided with
a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

On Wednesday evening, the board voted to move forward with equipping
every secondary school with a naloxone kit, as part of TDSB's
overdose-prevention plan implemented in November 2017.

TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said one kit will be provided to each of
the board's 112 high schools and alternative schools.

Two to three staff from each school will also be trained on how to use
the kit.

Bird said the training, which will led by the TDSB, will begin just
before March break and should be finished before the end of April.

TDSB's initiative is in response to the city of Toronto's action plan
on the rise of overdoses.

In 2016, there were 2,861 opioid-related deaths in Canada. From
January to June 2017, there were at least 1,460 suspected
opioid-related deaths.

"It is expected that this count will rise," the Public Health Agency
of Canada stated.

The city's report, released in March 2017, encouraged school boards to
consider having naloxone kits.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) assisted TDSB on how the board could
obtain naloxone kits and go about training, said Dr. Rita Shahin, TPH
spokesperson and associate medical officer of heath.

Bird said TDSB members who have already been trained by TPH on how to
use the kits will then teach staff at the other 112 schools.

"We're using a trainee-becomes-a-trainer model," Bird

Training will include instruction on how to identify signs and
symptoms of an opioid overdose, and how to administer the nasal spray,
and then call emergency services.

He said the board will be covering the costs for the kits, which will
amount to between $16,000 and $20,000.

Bird said he is "not aware" of any suspected overdoses in TDSB

TPH also said they are not aware of any suspected overdoses in

Bird said the board is looking into how they educate their students
about the opioid crisis, the dangers of fentanyl and how to ensure
their safety when it comes to drug use, but the TDSB has not come up
with any specific methods yet.

TDSB's overdose-prevention plan was created by the board's health and
mental well-being committee for staff to have an "emergency response

Since August 2017, Toronto paramedics have attended 58 non-fatal and
four fatal suspected opioid overdoses per week on average.
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