Life-saving naloxone training coming for UFV students

Abbotsford post-secondary School will teach students to use opiate-blocking medication

UFV will begin training students to use naloxone

UFV will begin training students to use naloxone



Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported the naloxone-training program had been confirmed. A UFV spokesperson has since corrected previous statements made to The News to reflect the fact the program is in the discussion and exploratory phase. The story has been changed to reflect this.

University of the Fraser Valley students could soon be drafted into the fight against the region’s ongoing opiate overdose crisis, with a new and potentially life-saving training program, which is currently in the discussion and exploratory phase.

Potentially beginning this school year, students would be taught basic skills around caring for people who are overdosing, including how to use naloxone – a medication which blocks the effects of opiates like heroin, morphine and fentanyl and can rescue someone from an overdose. The drug is administered by pressing a pre-filled injector (similar to an EpiPen) into a person’s leg, with a needle injection or with a nasal spray (currently unavailable in Canada).

RELATED: Firefighters may soon carry opiate antidote

Overdose ‘antidote’ now available over-the-counter

Drug consumption sites to be part of Fraser strategy on overdoses

The students would also be trained to spot the signs of drug use and overdose, as well as administer basic CPR and first aid.

“Everybody in the community has a responsibility to look after each other and the school is no exception,” said UFV’s career development co-ordinator Michele Giordano, who is organizing the initiative.

UFV would possibly be the first of its kind to offer such a program, she said.

While the students wouldn’t receive naloxone, the antidote made available without a prescription earlier this spring.

Giordano said she had originally planned to make the training available solely for students in the criminology and criminal justice program in advance of their practicums.

Those students often end up doing practicums at organizations like the John Howard Society, which assists people recently released from jail. That population is at particularly high risk for overdose because they may not realize how their resistance to drugs has dropped or have experience with the new batches of fentanyl-laced drugs, she said.

“What a horrible thing for a brand new practicum student to start a day at John Howard Society and have someone drop in front of them and die and not have a tool to help,” said Giordano.

Giordano said the training would also be particularly useful to students in the social work and nursing programs, who often work in detox and addiction treatment centres as part of their practicum.

The training would be administered by Erica Thomson, an outreach worker at the Warm Zone women’s resource centre in Abbotsford, where Giordano used to work.

Thomson said an important aspect of the training would be teaching students to spot the signs of addiction in their peer group.

Thomson and Giordano revealed plans for the program to The News after a day-long event at Matsqui Centennial Hall, in recognition of Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

An attendee at the event, Christine Reid, who volunteers with various organizations in the community, said she has seen the effects addiction can have on people.

She said she had hung about 15 different names over the years on a special tree that memorializes those who have died from overdoses. On Sunday, she hung the name of a recently deceased man she said struggled with addiction for many years.

Reid said addicts who have been using opiates for years are now much more vulnerable to overdose due to the prevalence of fentanyl-laced drugs.

“Even the most seasoned drug users are going down,” she said.

There were 21 overdose deaths recorded in the first seven months of 2016 in Abbotsford, the same number of fatalities were recorded in the four-year period from 2007 to 2010.

B.C. Emergency Health Services responded to 68 suspected overdoses from Aug. 1 to Aug. 30, including 27 calls during the one-week period from Aug. 24 to Aug. 30.

Just Posted

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Artists featured in the BLM Social Justice Art Project at UFV are (clockwise from top left): Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz.
Black Lives Matter art exhibit opens at UFV in Abbotsford

Show features the work of four artists and runs until Sept. 15

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (right) toured the Hope Curling Club last February along with Ray Scott (left) and Craig Traun (middle) after the building had accessibility improvements. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl touts Enabling Accessibility Fund

Strahl is encouraging local organizations to apply for funding for mid-sized projects before July 29

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Most Read