Waterloo, Ont., school board to hold off on providing naloxone

A school board in southwestern Ontario has decided not to follow the example of other boards that are stocking up on naloxone kits to deal with a growing opioid crisis, opting instead to focus on anti-drug education.

Trustees with the Waterloo Region District School Board voted this week to defer a motion to introduce the medication until September.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has equipped all its high schools with kits that include two doses of naloxone nasal spray, which temporarily reverses the effects of overdoses from opioids, and the Toronto District School Board says it too will provide the medication.

But Chairman Scott McMillan says the Waterloo board will stick with the status quo: teaching kids about the dangers of taking drugs, and what to do in case of an overdose.

He says the trustees who voted to defer the decision felt that the board is already on the right track in its drug strategy.

McMillan says schools start teaching kids not to take drugs in the first or second grade, and as they get older they’re taught to call 911 in case of a suspected overdose.

“We’re hearing from public health that they want us to focus first and foremost on education and prevention,” he said. “And then at some point in the future, it might make sense for us to put naloxone kits in the schools.”

And students in the Waterloo region aren’t at a great risk of overdosing while in school, said board spokesman Nick Manning.

“Each region, each municipality is different. I don’t know the reason why Toronto has introduced naloxone kits for their secondary schools,” he said. ”What we’re doing is looking at the needs of our community here.”

“I have not heard of worrying drug use,” he added. “Young people who are likely to be taking drugs or opioids are tending to do that at their homes or in other locations.”

So the board is sticking with its current plan: education.

In addition to the drug messaging in the curriculum, Manning said the board has in recent months distributed information to parents and schools about the dangers of opioids.

But Cindy Watson, the trustee who introduced the motion, said that this isn’t an either-or discussion. The board can do both — recommend that the schools continue on as they have been, and provide naloxone kits and training on how to use them.

She said there’s a provincewide opioid crisis, and schools in her region need to be prepared.

Naloxone kits are akin to defibrillators, she said. Ideally, they’re never needed, but they’re there just in case.

“It could happen,” she said. “It may never happen, but which side do you want to err on?”

Just Posted

Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park announces closure

Citing mounting costs, Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park recently announced it was… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Bighorn Backcountry ATV users in wait-and-see mode on future of West Country access

As off-highway vehicle users started a summer of trail riding on the… Continue reading

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wed in Windsor as millions watch

WINDSOR, England — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gazed into each other’s… Continue reading

Canadians rise for early-morning royal wedding celebrations

It was a thrilling first glimpse of Meghan Markle on her wedding… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Canadian families among throngs of royal fans camping out for glimpse of newlyweds

WINDSOR, United Kingdom — Intense security measures, massive crowds, jet lag and… Continue reading

Swiss stun Canada, Sweden crushes US in ice hockey semis

COPENHAGEN — Switzerland stunned title favourite Canada 3-2 to reach only its… Continue reading

Cuba: 110 died in plane crash, 3 survivors ‘critical’

HAVANA — The only three survivors of Cuba’s worst aviation disaster in… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Lacrosse action heats up in Red Deer

More than 50 teams from across Alberta took part in the Tradition… Continue reading

Canadian royal watchers heartened by unusual wedding role for Prince Charles

An unconventional wedding entrance for an unconventional bride sits just fine with… Continue reading

Street Tales: Life according to music

At Tuesday supper we had the privilege of hearing not one, but… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Four hippies in a garden shed

It was way back in the Hippiezoic Era when guys had long… 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