The Toronto District School Board has announced that they will provide their high schools with OD kits that include the potentially lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone.
On Wednesday, February 7, the school board passed a measure to proceed with providing a naloxone kit to every secondary school in the district. This preventative step is part of the school board’s plan for overdose prevention, which was implemented in November 2017.
All 112 alternative schools and high schools in the district will receive one of the OD kits. The naloxone which will be included in each kit can reverse the effects of opioid overdose within minutes, and has been widely lauded as necessary equipment in the struggle against the opioid crisis. It is effective against a variety of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl, and heroin.
According to Ryan Bird, the spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, distribution of the kits was not prompted by any specific incident, but represents a preventative measure to decrease the possibility of a fatal overdose occurring at one of the schools.
In addition to distributing the OD kits to the schools, two to three staff members will be trained on how to administer naloxone. Furthermore, the version of naloxone included in the OD kits the school board will distribute is the easy-to-administer nasal spray.
Training for school staff is scheduled to begin before the district’s March Break, with distribution and training scheduled to be completed before May. The estimated cost for the kits is between $16,000 and $20,000, which the school board declared to be negligible when compared with the possibility that the naloxone could save the life of a student or staff member at the schools.
While Toronto first responders, including firefighters and police, already have access to naloxone, many other larger organizations in the city are considering supplying the medication to prevent as many opioid overdoses as possible.