COVID-19 paused plan to equip Guelph public schools with naloxone

Click to play video 'Naloxone kits and how to use them' Naloxone kits and how to use them
Public health nurse Rhonda Lovell shows how and when to use a naloxone kit – Sep 19, 2018

Guelph’s public school board says a plan to equip its buildings with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone is moving forward after it was paused due to COVID-19.

Back in January, trustees with the Upper Grand District School Board voted in favour of implementing the use of the nasal spray as part of its first aid protocols.

Read more: Guelph public schools to be equipped with overdose-reversing drug

Due to the school closures in March and work required to reopen them in September, the plans were put on hold.

Trustees were told this week that things are moving ahead once again, beginning with virtual training for staff.

Once that is completed, all schools and board offices will be supplied with naloxone kits to be stored in the box that holds the defibrillators.

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A committee formed to research the idea of naloxone kits in schools argued that similar to defibrillators, the inclusion of naloxone is a proactive response. One that is not just for students and staff, but visitors and those who use school facilities after-hours.

A report showed that schools are not considered high-risk areas for opioid overdoses, but there are concerning trends within the community.

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Health Minister announces $9.5 million funding for opioid crisis in Ontario – Sep 18, 2020

The kits will be installed at all 76 schools as well as the board office in Guelph on Victoria Road. A total of 520 staff members are expected to be provided training on naloxone.

Read more: New article examines the compounded harms coronavirus pandemic has on overdose crisis

The initial cost is pegged at $29,276 and naloxone has a shelf life of two years. The cost to replace the kits would be an ongoing budget consideration.

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Naloxone can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose, but will not cause harm to someone if given in error.