Naloxone training begins for staff at Kamloops schools - InfoNews

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Naloxone training begins for staff at Kamloops schools

Staff at schools in the Kamloops-Thompson School District have started undergoing training to administer naloxone, a drug used to potentially reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
March 03, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Staff officials with School District 73 have officially begun naloxone training.

Director of student support services Trish Smillie says the district's first training session was held on Feb. 20 and at least two first-aid officials with each middle or secondary school in Kamloops were trained to administer naloxone.

Naloxone is a potentially life-saving drug that can be administered to someone suffering from an opioid overdose. If used correctly, it can reverse the effects of the overdose.

Smillie says staff and parents have responded well to the initial stage of training.

"We’ve introduced it to a variety of groups including our (district parent advisory committee) and people were excited to hear about the training," Smillie says. "We felt very fortunate to work with (ASK Wellness)."

ASK Wellness is a group which provides different supports to vulnerable people in Kamloops. A representative from the group ran the training for district officials. 

In 2016 alone, more than 900 people died from illicit drug overdoses in B.C., many of the deaths linked to the powerful opioid fentanyl. Although there have been no reports of students overdosing at schools, Smillie says the training has been a proactive measure in keeping schools safe.

She says Twin Rivers Education Centre has opted to have all of their administrators trained to administer naloxone and their training will begin next week. But Smillie says this doesn't make the education centre a high-risk school.

"We wouldn’t, as a school district, consider (the education centre) to be a high-risk setting," Smillie says. "People are not actively using, we don’t support harm reduction strategies within schools... but we do want to provide that as a service. I think it is... contextually relevant given where we are in B.C. with what’s going on."

At a time when B.C. residents thought they wouldn't see a drug more potent than fentanyl, a new drug called carfentanil has been reported in the Interior. Although it has not been confirmed in Kamloops, Smillie says the school district is alert to the possibility.

"Our procedure for administering naloxone has considered... if we have anyone who appears to be overdosing we immediately call 911," Smillie says. "We know with carfentanil, even more so than fentanyl, the response time is pretty important. We’re not first-responders, but anything we can do to mitigate risks for our students, we’ll do that."

Smillie says it's up to each school to choose whether they will have naloxone on-site and in what form. Naloxone comes in both an injectable solution and a nasal spray solution.

For more on fentanyl, go here.

For more on naloxone, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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