According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), post-secondary students are among the highest-risk groups for opioid overdoses.
CMHA launched their on-campus opioid overdose ‘Carry It Toolkit’ education campaign for Canadian post-secondary students.
The toolkit contains information for community members on how to identify and address an overdose.
Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, can be acquired freely from any pharmacy.
Amanda Fitzpatrick, VP of Student Life, says that students can pick up Naloxone kits at the pharmacy in the Student Life Centre or at Health Services.
Farooq Husseini, a representative from CMHA, said anti-harm reduction advocates have seen little success in argueing that people who don’t want to overdose should not use drugs.
“[It] is not practical to expect that people will not take drugs and so we are taking a harm-reduction approach, where we are neutral about abstinence.
We see abstinence as just one practice that can reduce harm. We are encouraging people about safer substance use,” he said.
While most students use drugs off campus, students who may have never considered trying or carrying naloxone on them are being encouraged to carry naloxone kits.
“When someone is overdosing you can save them if you have naloxone; it might be too late by the time paramedics arrive,’’ Husseini said.
WUSA hopes to lead naloxone trainings and other drug safety workshops on campus while working to implement a harm-reduction strategy.
Fitzpatrick said WUSA aims to provide resources and support to students dealing with issues related to racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, and other forms of violence and oppression, and recommends accessing the many student run services including RAISE, Glow, The Women’s Centre, MATES, and their new Legal Protection Service.