HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Schools Mull Use Of Overdose Treatment Kits
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Sep 2017
Source: Whistler Question (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017, Whistler Printing & Publishing Ltd.
Author: Steven Chua


The provincial health officer is asking B.C. schools to consider
buying naloxone

The provincial health officer is recommending B.C. schools - including
those in Sea to Sky area - obtain the tools to deal with opioid overdoses.

A letter sent to superintendents across B.C. said that while schools
aren't considered high-risk environments, they are advised to have
naloxone kits and train staff to use them.

This advisory comes in the midst of what provincial health officer Dr.
Perry Kendall has called a "public health emergency" - the use of
fentanyl has been blamed for a sharp increase in the amount of deaths
from drug overdoses.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that is between 50 and 100 times more
potent than morphine.

Statistics from the BC Coroners Service show that from January to June
of this year, 780 people have died from overdoses in B.C. Last year,
414 people died in the same time period. The year before, it was 214.

The letter from the province was presented to the school board in its
meeting last week by director Phillip Clarke.

To help schools determine whether naloxone kits are necessary, the
province is providing a method to help staff determine the level of
risk in their schools.

"Part of what they gave us is a decision-making template," said
Clarke. "I will be speaking with all of our principals - especially
our secondary schools - and advising them to go over this document
themselves with teachers and with their (parent advisory councils) to
figure out, 'Are we at risk?'"

He said that less than one per cent of opioid overdoses in B.C. happen
to school-age children, so the chances of this being a problem locally
appears to be very slim.

The highest risk appears to be for people aged 30 to 59, according to
a BC Coroners Service report released in August.

People who reside in Richmond, as well as the area from the North
Shore/Coast Garibaldi health region are among the least likely to
overdose, Clarke said. Coast Garibaldi includes Squamish, Whistler,
Pemberton and the Sunshine Coast.

The coroner's report said that 25 people died from overdose in the
North Shore/Coast Garibaldi area from January to June of this year.

By contrast, Vancouver, where the largest number of overdoses
occurred, counted 209 deaths in the same period.

School staff and parent advisory councils will also be examining
ambulance and firefighter response times. Both of those services carry
naloxone kits, Clarke said.

Should schools feel the need to carry the kits, the province will
allow schools to buy them through their supplier. St. John's Ambulance
is available to train people how to use the equipment.
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