KELOWNA - Should potentially life-saving, overdose-reversing drugs be kept on hand in Central Okanagan secondary schools? That's the question school board trustees are wrestling with right now.
Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. With the current fentanyl crisis in B.C. that killed more than 900 people last year and is on pace to smash that record again this year, naloxone kits and training have pervaded nearly every sector of society, from businesses to non profit agencies, government buildings, .
Now, possibly, schools.
In assessments leading to a decision, education officials determined that while the likelihood of an overdose at a school is low, the consequence is high.
“Interior Health reports that this emergency has only had a very few school age students overdose on drugs across the Province and none at school sites,” says a report from Kevin Kaardal, the Superintendent of Schools. “We have had recent reports of a couple of students who have self-identified to using fentanyl off school site and came to school for help.”
To date, according to the report, there has been one death of a school-age student from overdose, in the New Westminster School District.
A school district committee meeting on Wednesday evening forwarded its’ recommendation to the school board, which is expected to make its’ decision on the matter June 28.
Last April, the B.C. Provincial Health Officer declared a province-wide state of emergency due to the staggering amount of drug overdoses in the province.
As of April 30, there were 488 deaths from illicit drug overdoses, according to B.C. public and emergency services. That is 198 more deaths than this time last year.
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