Dangers of fentanyl at top of mind as students head back to school

Student leaders running the University of Ottawa’s orientation week will be monitoring the safety of new students as Frosh week activities begin, but they will not be able to administer the opioid antidote naloxone in the event of an overdose.

The president of the student federation that runs a large number of the events, Hadi Wess, said the group wanted to have 100 student guides carry naloxone over the long weekend, but were advised against it by lawyers, and other health care groups.

“Within the student federation it could be a liability issue, because we fall under the Ontario Federation Act,” Hadi said.

Instead, student guides and leaders are being trained on spotting the signs, and other awareness methods during a growing opioid crisis in Canada.

Hadi said the idea of having student leaders carry naloxone in the future, and at other events, is still on the table.

Naxolone kits will still be on site, and able to be administered by Protective Services members at the University of Ottawa, who have trained with paramedics.  

“On any given day we will have seven people that have access to the kids,” said Steve Bernique, the Interim Director for Protective Services.

As for Carleton University, safety officers and health and counselling staff are able to administer naloxone, according to Don Cummings, Director of University Communications.