Universities stocking up on naloxone kits, training staff to deal with opioids

Some Canadian universities are gearing up for the new academic year by training staff on how to deal with opioid overdoses and equipping them with naloxone kits.

The University of King's College in Halifax has taught staff how to administer naloxone, the potentially life-saving antidote, and students can access them through residence personnel.

The school told Global News it introduced the safety measure because of the growing incidents of opioid misuse across the country, which saw about 2,500 opioid-related deaths last year and hundreds more this year.

In British Columbia, where the opioid epidemic has hit the hardest, the University of British Columbia allows students to pick up free naloxone kits on campus if they think they are at risk of an overdose.

Health Canada recently put out a warning about the drugs for students during orientation week, also recommending that students carry naloxone kits in case of an overdose caused by opioids.

The University of Alberta is giving its Protective Services staff Narcan nasal spray, while Edmonton's MacEwan University has two naloxone kits with three people trained to administer them.