The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board is petitioning the province to have Narcan kits in B.C. high schools and middle schools.
Trustee Susan Carr, who also leads the City of Maple Ridge’s Strong Kids team, brought the issue to the board on Wednesday night, and it was supported by her colleagues.
Narcan, and the drug Naloxone, is used to reverse the effects of opioids, and is being widely distributed by the province during the public health emergency created by the drug fentanyl.
The motion will ask the ministers of health, education and children and families to create provincial standards around training and administering Naloxone in schools.
Carr likened this measure to doing earthquake drills, and training staff to use EpiPens.
“It’s something we hope we never have to use, but it’s there just in case,” she said.
She talked about the accidental use of fentanyl by casual drug users, who may not be aware that it is mixed in another type of drug.
“Kids thinking they bought one thing, and they got something else,” she said.
“Do they deserve to die because they made a bad choice? Can we be in position to support that not happening, as part of our preparedness.”
Trustee Lisa Beare noted the decision would effect older students.
“This may be a choice they made to come to school under the influence, but my choice is to make sure that they live, and we don’t give up on them.”
Trustee Ken Clarkson said the board’s position “fits with society’s changing attitude toward drugs as a health issue.”
Superintendent Sylvia Russell noted that an 18-year-old, who was no longer a student, had died of a drug overdose on the grounds of Golden Ears elementary. School was not in session at the time.
Trustee Korleen Carreras, a parent of children in the district, noted that Narcan is used in the rare situation where a simple shot can save a person’s life.
A resident had appealed to the board not to have the overdose antidote in schools.
Carr’s motion passed unanimously.