Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education superintendent Dwayne Zarichny has proposed bringing in the Medicine Hat Drug Coalition, through the Red Cross, to Monsignor McCoy High School for nasal naloxone training.

The students will learn what opioids are, how they work on the brain and how to recognize signs of an overdose. The training will involve assessing the situation and calling 911 before administering nasal naloxone. Each student will receive a naloxone kit free of charge, provided by Health Canada in its ongoing support to prevent lives lost.

Hugh Lehr, associate superintendent learning services, says some overdoses happen by accident when someone takes the wrong thing, and it can be surprising how much opioids are in an average medicine cabinet in the home.

Chair Kathy Glasgo was supportive of the training, saying it is much better for MHCBE students to be informed and ready.

Board trustee Dick Mastel was concerned about liability exposure for the division if a trained teacher or student administers the drug and something goes wrong. Zarichny says that is unlikely because if a person doesn’t have an opioid in their system, naloxone won’t have any effect.

Aspirator kits are hard to come by, added Zarichny, and he hopes that in addition to the students each receiving one, there will be some on hand at the school. Teachers and administrators within MHCBE received naloxone training using a needle, which is administered into the thigh. However, using the aspirators is much easier. The superintendent added that someone in an overdose or opioid poisoning situation may need to receive more than one dose of naloxone.

Trustee David Leahy was all for allowing the training for students and thanked Zarichny for bringing it to the board’s attention. A motion was not needed, but the board agreed the training should proceed and Zarichny said he would reach out to the Red Cross.

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 16, 2023 at 08:38

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta
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