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Naloxone training free for students

The opioid crisis has claimed more than 8,000 Canadian lives since 2016, according to StatsCan. 

To help turn the tide, SAIT and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have partnered to offer numerous free Naloxone training sessions on SAIT campus.

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Naloxone hydrochloride (naloxone) is a drug that can temporarily stop the effects of opioid drugs.
Photo by Rorie Stannard

Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and is seen as one of the front-line tools to combat this public health emergency. 

March 19 was the sixth of seven scheduled sessions over the fall and winter semesters. The final session for this school year will be held on April 11.

Karen Klassen, clinic manager for SAIT Health Services Medical Clinic, said she believes it’s important for students to get the training. 

She wants students to understand that substances like fentanyl and carfentanil are extremely lethal, and can easily contaminate recreational street drugs.

“It only takes a small amount of the substance, an amount equivalent to a grain of salt will kill you,” said Klassen.

Opioid addiction and overdose may seem like something most SAIT students won’t experience in their lifetime, but Sarah Hogendorp, SAITSA Peer Support Centre Coordinator, believes this problem affects people of all ages.

“It’s not necessarily people who are partying who are predominantly affected by this,” said Hogendorp.

For example, according to the Government of Canada, opioid-related fatalities were the leading cause of death for Canadians aged 30-39 in 2017.

“You never know who in your life might be struggling with addiction, and having it [Naloxone] on you could end up saving someone’s life,” said Hogendorp.

In addition to the Naloxone training itself, class attendees were also given a thorough overview of the additional harm reduction initiatives AHS is employing to combat the opioid epidemic.

According to AHS, there are significant cost savings to taxpayers when such harm reduction methods are enacted.

The training session provided students with an outline of the various types of opioids, and the effects they can have.

Attendees were informed how to identify an opioid overdose, and taught the specific dos and don’ts of when you encounter a person who has overdosed.

For students who haven’t had formal first aid training, the Naloxone training session also included a brush-up of rescue breathing techniques and strategies to avoid being overwhelmed by an overdose situation.

At the conclusion of the session, students practiced delivery of the life-saving drug to a potential victim, by administering a Naloxone injection into a foam stress ball.

The training session is approximately 90 minutes, and participants are provided with a free Naloxone kit upon completion.

To register for the April 11 training session, email sarah.hogendorp@edu.sait.ca.

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