With an unused needle, School District 67 director of facilities Doug Gorcak demonstrates how his staff dispose of the increasing number of needles found on school grounds.                                Mark Brett/Western News

With an unused needle, School District 67 director of facilities Doug Gorcak demonstrates how his staff dispose of the increasing number of needles found on school grounds. Mark Brett/Western News

Schools taking preventative measures in opioid crisis

School districts around the province are proactively acquiring naloxone kits as part of their emergency preparedness.

In the Okanagan Skaha School District, Superintendent Wendy Hyer said school administrators got training in the kits, which are used to counteract opioid overdoses, last year.

“It was just something that we, our schools, our secondary school administrators felt they wanted to do to be safe,” said Hyer, noting the decision was made in consultation with the Interior Health Authority.

Hyer said there haven’t been any issues at local schools but given the straightforward training, it was prudent to be prepared during the ongoing fentanyl crisis.

According to a B.C. Coroner’s report, in an eight-month span this year, from January through August, there were 823 deaths related to fentanyl in the province. It’s a 151 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.

There have only been a few school-age children overdoses in the province, reports Interior Heath and none were on school grounds.

“You have first aid kits, so given what is going on, why wouldn’t this be part of your first aid kit,” said Hyer, adding that the district has seen a decline in substance abuse issues in the schools.

“We really work to educate more so than anything else. We have Pathways Addiction Centre that does some proactive work. We have our school counsellors looking at harm reduction and certainly, Interior Health has done some work around harm reduction,” said Hyer. “I don’t think substance abuse with hard drugs is an issue for us. It’s more your teenage exploration, dabbling with marijuana issues you tend to deal with.”

Revelstoke Secondary School, in School District 19, is one of the latest schools in the province to acquire the naloxone kits, receiving two of them at the end of September.

Related: Revelstoke Secondary School receives Naloxone kits

With a focus on student safety and well-being, principal Greg Kenyon said that getting the kits was an obvious decision, despite the school being low-risk for drug overdoses.

“It’s just another thing we do and have,” said Kenyon. “It’s like we’re trained for responding to anaphylaxis and we’re trained now to respond to Naloxone and administering that.”

The Vernon School District (SD22) has had naloxone kits available in schools for just over a year in all high schools and alternate schools.

Like Okanagan Skaha, the Vernon School District is focusing on education through Preventure, a school-based preventative drug and alcohol program, aiming to reduce drug and alcohol use in high-risk teenagers.

“The starting point is prevention, then intervention,” said Doug Rogers, SD22 district substance abuse prevention counsellor.

Related: Kits available at Central Okanagan schools

— With files from Parker Crook and Marissa Tiel/Black Press.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland affordable housing proposal opposed

“For a building that will change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion.”

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

Most Read