the contents of a drug overdose rescue kit is seen at a training session in Buffalo, N.Y., on how to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of heroin and prescription painkillers. Winnipeg Folk Festival is stocking naloxone kits for this year’s event. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Winnipeg Folk Festival to stock naloxone

WINNIPEG — For the first time, on-site first aid crews at the Winnipeg Folk Festival will be carrying naloxone kits to help them deal with opioid overdose.

Paul Laporte, the festival’s protection and wellness coordinator, says every year they look at the trends that are happening.

He says this year it’s been opioids that have been on the radar.

A few years ago, the festival noticed there were a lot of people attending that were having mental health problems, so Laporte says brought in mental health professionals to deal with it.

He says festival staff will carry both the nasal spray and injectable versions of the opioid overdose antidote.

First aid crews on both the camping area and on the festival site have the kits. Laporte notes every person on site is subject to a bag and container search, and anything illegal that’s found is surrendered and taken away by RCMP. He compares the kits to having a fire extinguisher in your home.

“Even if you never anticipate an issue you always make sure you have the equipment for it.”

The 44th annual folk festival at Birds Hill Park started Thursday and runs for four days. About 60,000 people usually attend.

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