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Langara lags behind in providing naloxone kits on campus

While some post-secondary institutions work to prevent overdoses with Naloxone training programs for students, Langara keeps their kits in the health services centre

Langara Health Services only provides naloxone kits to students at risk, unlike other post-secondary institutions. Photo by Lindsey Lloyd
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Reported by Lindsey Lloyd

As a result of B.C.’s opioid epidemic, some post-secondary institutions have created take-home Naloxone kit programs targeting students, but Langara College only possesses a small number of kits that are not as accessible.

In September, Health Canada issued a warning to all post-secondary students, which stated that students should be equipping themselves with Naloxone kits, especially during the first week of the school year. Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and is usually injected into a muscle.

Less access to naloxone at Langara

According to Langara Health Services nurse Susan Kensett, the health centre only has four kits. Kensett says they are for students at risk of an opioid overdose, not for the general public.

“I’m just concerned that we’re going to get dozens of people arriving here, worried about their friends and wanting to have a naloxone kit,” said Kensett.

In comparison, BCIT’s health services have advertised a greater availability. According to Glen Magel, Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Management at BCIT, anyone in the student community is able to pick one up.

“Anyone in the community can go and pick one up after a brief training,” said Magel.

UBC’s student health services website states that naloxone kits and training is available for free for students, friends and family of students.”

Both Vancouver Coastal Health and Kensett refer people seeking naloxone kits to the VCH website, Towards the Heart, which specifies registered clinics that offer take-home kits. But in South Vancouver there’s only one site indicated on their website that offers this program.

Students taking the initiative

Some Langara students are taking measures into their own hands, such as social sciences student Chelsea Riva, who was able to obtain a kit at a youth clinic. Riva believes it would be convenient if there were more kits available on campus.

“If they were here it would be a lot more convenient for students,” said Riva. “There’s so many young people all in one place.”

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