Nalox­one kits should have wider distri­bu­tion, man says

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

For Steve Lock­hart, it’s a no brainer – nalox­one kits should be read­ily avail­able in all Cana­dian schools and other pub­lic places.

“I am hop­ing that … I will start a ball rolling for these life­sav­ing kits to be dis­trib­uted to all schools and busi­nesses across Canada,” the Truro res­i­dent said. “Some day this could be the mat­ter of a child’s life be­ing saved or taken.”

Nalox­one is used to re­verse the e ects of an opi­oid drug over­dose.

Opi­oid use and over­doses have been in­creas­ing across the coun­try and last year there were 63 re­ported deaths in Nova Sco­tia. As a re­sult, in Septem­ber 2017 the provin­cial gov­ern­ment be­gan pro­vid­ing nalox­one kits free of charge to Nova Sco­tia phar­ma­cies.

But Lock­hart, a former mem­ber of the Cana­dian mil­i­tary who said he has had ex­pe­ri­ence with trauma and over­dose vic­tims, be­lieves distri­bu­tion of the kits should be taken a step fur­ther.

Re­cently, while drop­ping his son o at a Colch­ester County ele­men­tary school, Lock­hart wit­nessed what he be­lieves was a teenage over­dose vic­tim be­ing tended to by teach­ers who found the male in ob­vi­ous dis­tress.

While un­con­firmed as to whether it in­volved an over­dose sit­u­a­tion, Lock­hart said, “He looked for­ward and then his eyes just wan­dered. The rest of his body was just to­tally un­re­spon­sive…

“I watched them move his head a few times and he just dropped his head like there was no mus­cle move­ment at all. I watched him look around sort of and just rolled his eyes. I’ve seen that look. I know that look.”

A spokesper­son for the Chignecto-cen­tral Re­gional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion (CCRCE) said the in­ci­dent Lock­hart wit­nessed in­volved a high school stu­dent who was wait­ing for a bus and re­quired med­i­cal at­ten­tion. But Jen­nifer Rodgers said pri­vacy con­cerns pre­vent her from prov­ing specic de­tails.

Al­though Lock­hart could not conrm it was an ac­tual over­dose, he none­the­less feels the threat of such an in­ci­dent oc­cur­ring in a school or other pub­lic set­ting is great enough that the nalox­one kits should be more widely dis­trib­uted.

“I would be in­clined to agree,” said Crys­tal Mar­ry­att, a phar­ma­cist with the Medicine Shoppe Phar­macy in Truro.

“It’s not some­thing that can cause a lot of harm and it’s some­thing that can save some­body’s life.”

Al­though Mar­ry­att said it would be up to school o cials to make the de­ci­sion to have nalox­one kits on hand, she be­lieves the con­cept does have merit.

“I be­lieve it’s a great idea,” she said. “Any­one who feels they might have need of one should pick one up.”

Nalox­one is a fast-act­ing drug that re­verses the e ects of a nar­cotic by bind­ing to the opi­oid re­cep­tors and de­ac­ti­vat­ing them.

The kits are avail­able free of charge through phar­ma­cies upon re­quest. ey come with two vials of nalox­one, two nee­dles and la­tex gloves and any­one who picks one up is given a brief train­ing ses­sion.

In the case Lock­hart wit­nessed, Rodgers said EHS paramedics were called and the stu­dent was taken to hospi­tal for ob­ser­va­tion.

As for hav­ing the nalox­one kits placed in all schools, how­ever, Rodgers said there is no move­ment cur­rently in e ect to make that hap­pen.

“We do not have nalox­one kits on­site at our schools. At all CCRCE schools and of­fices, the rst call is to 911 if a se­ri­ous med­i­cal is­sue or con­cern oc­curs,” she said. “ e di­ag­no­sis and ad­min­is­tra­tion of medicine is left to med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.”

FILE PHOTO

A Truro man is sug­gest­ing nalox­one kits, such as the one pic­tured above and are used to counter drug over­doses, should be on hand at all schools.

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