WayHome revises policy on naloxone

TORONTO — An Ontario music festival has reversed a policy that would have banned attendees from bringing their own injectable naloxone kits, saying patrons will be able to trade syringes of the opioid overdose antidote for a nasal spray that has the same effect.

The WayHome Music and Arts Festival, taking place near Barrie, Ont., this weekend, says it changed its policy after hearing concerns from those who planned to attend.

Naloxone is an antidote to the powerful opioid fentanyl, a drug responsible for a growing number of overdose-related deaths. Fentanyl is sometimes found mixed with other drugs like cocaine.

WayHome’s previous policy didn’t allow attendees to bring their own naloxone-containing syringes at all. Instead, organizers said medical staff on site would be the only people with the antidote.

With the change in rules, attendees will now be able to trade their naloxone kits for Narcan, a nasal spray version of the antidote.

“In an effort to meet the concerns of those in possession of injectable naloxone kits, we will now be offering the spray in exchange for the injectable alternative at the gate,” festival spokesman Todd Jenereaux said Tuesday.

Ottawa resident Maegan Mason was one of the attendees who had been concerned about WayHome’s earlier position. She said she was in contact with the festival for the last week and was told she wouldn’t be allowed to bring her injectable naloxone kit.

On Tuesday, she said she was ecstatic to hear that the policy had changed.

“It’s made my weekend feel a lot safer, and I have a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Mason.

The 19-year-old said the earlier policy had left her concerned that someone experiencing an overdose wouldn’t be able to find a medical professional in time whilst in a crowd of thousands.

“Not only can you not see where the first aid tent or where the medics are, but they can’t see you,” said Mason, who said getting out of a crowd that large could take 15 minutes.

If attendees have their own opioid overdose-reversing kit, they could administer the antidote and then find medical professionals, she said.

Deanna VandenBroek, a health promoter with the public health department in Peterborough, Ont., said she couldn’t think of a single negative outcome from festival attendees having the opioid overdose antidote themselves, especially because the antidote is harmless even if used when not needed.

“If (naloxone) is only going to be in certain places and held by certain people, it just means that much more time to get it to the person who’s overdosing,” VandenBroek explained.

In certain cases, she said that administering naloxone as soon as possible “could be the difference between life and death.”

WayHome, now entering its third year, is set to start on Friday and will run until Sunday night. The festival in Oro-Medonte, Ont., will feature artists Frank Ocean, Flume, and Imagine Dragons as headliners.

Just Posted

Red Deer man says more cardiac care needed here

Ryan Gillies spent several extra days in hospital waiting to get a stent in Edmonton

Red Deer gets ready for CFR 45

A $20 to $25-million annual injection to the local economy

Former Red Deer teacher going to trial on child porn charges

Charges were laid in January 2017 after a woman came forward

Red Deer agency reports more than 1,000 lives saved with naloxone

Turning Point distributes 5,855 naloxone kits

WATCH: Ponoka residents enjoy first skate on ice path

A community initiative helped create a skate path for families in Ponoka.

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month