Opioid overdose kits: who has them, who doesn’t

In this Tuesday, May 30, 2017 photo from CDSBEO, Naloxone kits have been distributed to all English Catholic schools in Eastern Ontario. The province announced today another 80,000 kits a year to front-line organizations to combat an opioid crisis. (CDSBEO via Newswatch Group)

SD&G – A lot of front-line responders in SD&G have access to opioid overdose kits, but not everyone’s equipped.

This, as the province announced today (Monday) that it plans to combat the national opioid crisis with front-line addiction and mental health workers and another 80,000 Naloxone kits every year to front-line organizations.

But who has them in SD&G and who doesn’t?

The O.P.P. recently announced that all front-line officers, including those in SD&G, would have access to the kits to treat opioid OD cases, namely Fentanyl.

“Each front line officer is being issued a kit with two doses of Naloxone nasal spray while on duty, while members of selected specialized units, such as Drug Enforcement Units and Community Street Crime Units, will each be issued a personal kit,” the force said.

As of right now, their Cornwall counterparts don’t have the kits.

“We are exploring our options as to issuing Naloxone kits to our officers,” Deputy Chief Danny Aikman told CNW. “There are a myriad of issues to take into account before that decision is reached.”

Aikman is at the Ontario Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in Waterloo, Ont. and will be speaking with his colleagues about the issue. “I know some services have made the decision to issue the kits but the majority have not yet decided on the appropriate course of action.”

The Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service was more coy when asked whether they had the antidote to treat drug overdoses. Through a media spokesperson, Acting Chief Lee Ann O’Brien said that she “does not want to advertise this fact right now.”

As for schools, the region is covered.

In the last week of May, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario announced it had purchased Naloxone kits for all its schools and educators were trained on how to use them.

The Upper Canada District School Board trained its staff on using the kits during the first week of May.

How serious is the opioid crisis? A harm reduction coordinator from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says opioid deaths are now outnumbering motor vehicle collision deaths, with a 463 per cent increase between 2000 and 2013.