Training in the use of life-saving opioid medication will be optional for City of Oshawa staff

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Published May 27, 2024 at 4:13 pm

Oshawa Harm Reduction Action Network
Members of the Oshawa Harm Reduction Action Network, some carrying nalaxone kits

The City of Oshawa will be providing optional training in the use of potentially life-saving naloxone training to staff through the John Howard Society.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. It attaches to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids and is used to restore breathing after an overdose.

The medicine is safe and the effects begin within two minutes when given intravenously, five minutes when injected into a muscle, and ten minutes as a nasal spray.

The kits are especially importance in the wake of the opioid crisis, with drugs laced with the deadly fentanyl killing more than two Canadians every hour and communities like Oshawa among the hardest hit.

Council had asked staff in September to investigate the merits of training all front-line staff in the administering of naloxone during the opioid crisis and ensure the supply of and access to naloxone kits in all City facilities.

A staff report from November did not recommend mandatory training all front-line staff in naloxone use, however, and instead referred the issue back for a look at optional training programs with community partners, such as the John Howard Society.

The matter was also referred to the legal department to ensure the City had its liability ducks in a row if the program was implemented.

Provincial regulations from last June require naloxone kits in “some workplaces” in case an employee or staff has an opioid overdose but a recent workplace assessment determined Oshawa is not required to provide the kits or an opioid training program.

City staff will, however, deploy Fire Services staff, a member of its contracted security provider or Durham Police to respond to an opioid overdose in its facilities.

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