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Nova Scotia education minister says naloxone in schools being discussed for new year

The contents of a Naloxone injection kit can be seen in this file photo. The contents of a Naloxone injection kit can be seen in this file photo.

Nova Scotia's education minister says the government is discussing the idea of making naloxone kits available in the province's schools, as the Liberal opposition presses for rapid action.

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and can save lives if administered rapidly.

Education Minister Becky Druhan says the use of opioids at high schools in the province is "concerning," and her department plans to roll out new resources for schools on the subject of drug abuse.

She told reporters today her department will also be talking with the Health Department and Nova Scotia Health about how to support the use of naloxone kits in schools, and expects to receive guidance by early next year.

Druhan made the comments as the Liberals tabled an opposition bill calling for naloxone kits to be available in all public schools and to ensure staff and students have the tools to prevent potential overdoses.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said the bill could save lives, and argued the Progressive Conservative government should move immediately rather than spending months in consultations.

"This is a big problem and if the government actually wants to save lives on this issue, they can pass this bill and ensure that naloxone is in the schools when kids particularly need it," he said.

"People can't wait. This could save lives in the next number of weeks, days or months ... It's really scary because it's getting worse in our schools."

Churchill said his push for action was motivated by a cluster of opioid cases that emerged earlier this month, after Nova Scotia Health sent out a "drug alert" on Oct. 17 about suspected opioid poisonings in Cole Harbour.

The mix of drugs involved included MDMA, cocaine and dilaudid.

According to a Nova Scotia Health website, naloxone is available at more than 420 locations across the province, including pharmacies, health care clinics and harm reduction organizations.

The website, titled "Nova Scotia Take Home Naloxone Program," provides a simple set of instructions to explain what the symptoms of overdose are and how to administer naloxone, noting that a training session at a pharmacy on how to use the kit takes less than 20 minutes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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