High schools need Narcan kits: Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board

Susan Carr. - TIMES files
Susan Carr.
— image credit: TIMES files

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board is looking to the province to put Narcan kits in every high school in B.C.

The motion to bring anti-overdose kits to local high schools passed unanimously at last night's school board meeting, led by school trustee Susan Carr.

Carr told The TIMES more needs to be done to combat the overdose crisis hitting cities and towns across the province, including in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

"If fentanyl is in pot and cocaine and we know youth are using these drugs – it would follow that we need to be prepared for an overdose to happen during school," Carr said.

As co-chair of the City's Strong Kids Team, Carr hosted a fentanyl forum earlier this month, with experts speaking on their perspective realms of overdoses in the community.

A letter from the board is going to the provincial ministries of health, education, and children and family development.

Carr referenced a report issued this week by B.C. child and youth advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on the June 2015 death of Nick Lang, a 15-year-old boy in a court-ordered program on Vancouver Island.

Lang’s family had tried in vain to get help for their son’s drug problem before he ended up in the court system. Turpel-Lafond’s report on Lang’s death called on the provincial government “to co-locate mental health and substance use supports in B.C. schools to increase the ability of youth to engage with services and to help support early identification and intervention for mental health and substance use problems.”

“It’s all tied to what I’m trying to do. It’s access to help when it’s needed,” Carr said.

Carr herself became aware of fentanyl’s dangers three years ago when a family member — now in recovery — became addicted to the drug.  She said the trustees are waiting to hear from the provincial government, but she doesn’t expect change to happen quickly.

“They might have to look at things like collective agreements, liability,” Carr said. “But the conversation needs to happen. The whole health crisis, it needed to be linked to the schools, because that’s where 90 per cent of our youth are.”

- With files from the Vancouver Sun reporter Glen Schaefer
For more at the Vancouver Sun, click here.

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