Fentanyl in BC schools: Maple Ridge trustees push province to address the issue

The Maple Ridge school board is asking the BC government to develop a province-wide framework to address fentanyl in schools.

The motion, brought by trustee Susan Carr, seeks “provincial standards for addressing drug use and possible incidents of overdose in BC schools, including protocols for training and administering of naloxone (Narcan) in all middle and secondary schools in BC.”

Carr said she introduced the motion because she’s witnessed first hand the effects of the drug. When a member of her own family grappled with an addiction, she said she felt powerless to help them.

“You’re scared because your family member is spiraling out of control and you’re possibly watching them dying and there’s not a thing you can do about it,” she said.

Teenagers may be vulnerable

Carr said that high school students may be susceptible to the drug because it is often cut into other substances like cocaine.

“It’s not directed to any one demographic anymore, it’s entered the mainstream and that’s what’s scary. So I think that given the health crisis in our province it’s better to just be prepared,” she said.

The provincial framework proposed by the school board would not only train teachers to respond to overdoses using naloxone kits, but would also encourage them to identify students who may be grappling with addiction.

In the first nine months of 2016, 555 people died of drug overdoses in B.C, surpassing the 2015 figure of 508 deaths.

Over 60 per cent of fatal overdoses in the province have been linked to fentanyl.