Naloxone kits were handed out at an overdose awareness day event in Kelowna. Image credit: Carmen Weld

Nalaxone kits now available at Central Okanagan schools

The opioid crisis is being dealt with at a high school level.

Naloxone kits will be available in schools this week as part of the ongoing response to the drug overdose crisis.

Central Okanagan School District staff completed training in administering nalaxone kits in advance of the school year, and kits are now on hand at every high school and one middle school in the region.

Naloxone is a drug which can reverse an opioid overdose temporarily and is available to anyone without a prescription in B.C. for emergency use.

RELATED: FENTANYL RELATED DEATHS INCREASE ACROSS KELOWNA

“(There have been) recent reports of a couple of students who have self-identified to using fentanyl off school site and came to school for help. Also, some students have reported that they have been in social communities that use opiates,” read a report that went to the district at the close of the last school year.

There have only been a few school-age children overdoses in the province, reports Interior Heath and none were on school grounds.

Fentanyl has caused 50 deaths in Kelowna so far this year, according to the most recent stats from the BC Coroners office. In the entirety of 2016, therefore 48 overdose deaths and only 19 in 2015.

In most deaths, fentanyl was combined with other drugs including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

The increase comes despite efforts by police and government officials to address the opioid crisis since the continuing increase of deaths was declared a state of emergency in 2016.

Among other health related initiatives, in November the RCMP signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s public security ministry to work together to fight the illegal trafficking of fentanyl into Canada.