Naloxone can be used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. There are now two kits at Revelstoke Secondary School. (File)

Revelstoke Secondary School receives Naloxone kits

Low-risk school puts student safety first

Staff at Revelstoke Secondary School now have a new tool to keep students safe. The high school received two Naloxone kits at the end of September.

Naloxone is used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.

With a focus on student safety and well-being, principal Greg Kenyon said that getting the kits was an obvious decision, despite the school being low-risk for drug overdoses.

“It’s just another thing we do and have,” said Kenyon. “It’s like we’re trained for responding to anaphylaxis and we’re trained now to respond to Naloxone and administering that.”

The school district performed a risk analysis and superintendent Mike Hooker said RSS was clearly in a low-risk zone.

“However, as part of attending to the safety of all students, it was considered appropriate to have the kits on hand, to provide training and raise awareness,” said Hooker in an email. “In this way, a couple of things happen. Students know that their safety is a priority, it reinforces and encourages important dialogue regarding drug issues, and in the unlikely event of an overdose, there are staff who know how to provide support.”

According to a BC Coroner’s report, in an eight-month span this year, from January through August, there were 823 deaths related to fentanyl in the province. It’s a 151 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.

According to that same report, only nine deaths affected those ages 10-18.

In the Thompson Caribou Shuswap region, of which Revelstoke is a part, there were 35 fentanyl-related deaths this year.

In 2016, the B.C. government declared a fentanyl drug overdose emergency. It was the province’s first-ever public health emergency.

Each year, the number of fentanyl-related deaths keeps going up.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It’s estimated to be 50-100 times more potent than morphine and it can be cut into other drugs without a user knowing.

Of the 1,013 illicit drug-related deaths this year, 81 per cent were fentanyl-related.

By the numbers

Fentanyl-related deaths in B.C. each year

2012: 12 • 2013: 50

2014: 91 • 2015: 152

2016: 659 • 2017 (Jan-Aug. 31): 823

Naloxone can be used if an opioid overdose is suspected. It attaches to the same receptor sites as the opioid, knocking them off, but not destroying them. Naloxone acts fast, usually within two to five minutes, but it stops working after 20 to 90 minutes, so another dose may be needed.

The two kits at RSS are injectable and work best when administered into a large muscle like an arm or a leg.

The other type of Naloxone kit is a nasal spray, but is less effective, said Kenyon.

The school’s Naloxone kits, which are stored in the medical room come to the school before its first AED, which is expected sometime next month.

All office staff have received training to administer Naloxone.

“At least one or more than one of us is easily reachable in a moment’s notice,” said Kenyon.

There is still no concrete evidence that fentanyl has made its way to Revelstoke, but local RCMP do believe it’s in the community.

“The RCMP believes there’s the presence of fentanyl in Revelstoke,” said Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky.

He said the detachment has sent some white powders to a lab for testing, but the results are not yet available.

There have been no fentanyl-related deaths reported in Revelstoke.

“It’s a growing concern. We haven’t encountered it a great deal. We know there is abuse of opioids,” Grabinsky told the Review in 2016. “We work hand in hand with BC ambulance service and EHS to address any overdoses we encounter.”

Local RCMP officers carry Naloxone kits with them. Within the last year Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services also received Naloxone training and now carries the kits as well. Paramedics are also equipped with the drug.

Principal Kenyon said that with living in a small community, the staff at the school are “pretty dialed in on what our students are doing,” and that “there’s no real concern yet.”

“It was very clear that we had a very low probablity of the need to use them,” he said. “But if we ever had a situation, the consequences of not having one on site would be extremely high.”


 

@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fentanyl-related deaths in the province have increased by 151 per cent so far this year. ~ File photo

Just Posted

Kelowna filmmaker launches fundraiser for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ fan movie

Donations will go towards the production of ‘The Sawyer Massacre’

LUNA REIMAGINED coming up this weeked

Six new art allery installations will be revealed Sept. 26

Photographer Bruno Long introduces A Friend of a Friend

The portraits are being used as ‘paint’ for an abstract art piece to be installed outside

Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society hires in-house counsellor

Free sessions available for men and women in the community

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shuswap search and rescue crew respond to dirt biker injured on Mount Ida

North Vancouver man transported to hospital for treatment of injuries

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Most Read