Fraser Valley Regional Library staff are not allowed to administer naloxone, even if trained to do so and in possession of it, to a patron suspected of overdosing on drugs, such as opioids.
The current policy for staff at the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows branches of the public library is to call 911 and stand back.
But that doesn’t sit well with Susan Carr, a school trustee who chairs the city’s social policy advisory committee, served on the Strong Kids Team, and organized two forums on fentanyl.
She thinks library staff should be allowed to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
A record 1,422 people in B.C. died of an illicit drug overdose in 2017. The Fraser Health Authority had the highest number of those deaths at 473. Maple Ridge had 33, the 10th highest of those in the coroner’s report.
Scott Hargrove, CEO of the Fraser Valley Regional District Library, said part of the concern is staff safety, such as accidental contact with fentanyl, or administering naloxone to someone who didn’t require it.
The policy has been in place for the past six months.
Hargrove said everyone from police, fire, paramedics and legal council were consulted between July and September last year, when the opioid crisis was starting to get worse.
In addition, Hargrove saide, many of the libraries are located close to first responders.