Naloxone proposal for London facilities fails committee vote, decision left to council

A final decision on the proposal will be made by city council in early March. Paul DeWitt / Global News

A proposal to add overdose-reversing medication in public facilities across London has failed to gather support from the community and protective services committee.

Committee members voted Wednesday to take no action on a report from city staff, leaving a final decision on the matter up to city council.

READ MORE: London police report naloxone administered nearly 100 times by officers in 2018

The report from city staff recommended adding a pair of naloxone kits to 29 public facilities across London. The kits would be publicly accessible and installed alongside automated external defibrillators that are already in place.

The pitch was for a one-year pilot project that would come with a price tag between $18,000 and $23,000, with that bill covering the cost of purchasing the kits, installing the kits and training facility staff, along with any marketing materials or signage that may be required.

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Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih wanted action taken on the proposal, arguing the city is already spending thousands on rarely used items in public facilities.

“Whether it’s sprinklers or fire alarms, … the point is for that one instance or that one time, to make an impact and save lives,” Salih said.

WATCH: Naloxone kits and how to use them

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Naloxone kits and how to use them – Sep 19, 2018

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis was hesitant to embrace the proposal.

Lewis argued there are other options, such as emergency services, to deal with overdoses at public facilities and that sufficient training for facility staff may be hard to provide.

“I’m very concerned that we’re asking members of the public, city staff … to administer medication in an emergency situation that they may misdiagnose,” Lewis said.

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“It could be a seizure, it could be a stroke or heartache … that could be a real problem.”

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The committee voted 4-2 in favour of receiving the report, taking no action. The minority voice came from Salih and Mayor Ed Holder, who had hoped to see the naloxone kits installed.

While the proposal failed to gather support at the committee level, the idea may still see daylight when a final decision is made by city council in early March.

The report from city staff added that there have been no reported opioid overdoses at City of London facilities.

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