Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo is now dispensing take-home naloxone kits through its campus medical clinic in an effort to help fight a recent spike in street-drug overdoses.
Nanaimo, like many B.C. communities, is in the midst of an overdose epidemic. Four people have died of since late December, and in the past week alone paramedics have responded to 14 calls for suspected overdoses.
VIU isn't saying whether any of the recent overdoses have affected students, but Carrie Chassels, executive director of student affairs, says the university is trying to be proactive.
"We know that we have students who are of an age where they may be susceptible to experimenting with drugs, trying things for the first time," she told CBC News.
Naloxone — also known by it's brand name Narcan — is a drug that can block and reverses the effects of opiods like heroine or fentanyl. VIU is one of the few universities to offer naloxone kits.
Dr. Paul Hasselback with Island Health says he's pleased by the move because overdose affects even those who only dabble in drugs.
"We have concerns about those who are at the non-habituated point, who are perhaps experimenting, using occasionally," said Hasselback.
Hasselback will be joined by representatives from the RCMP and VIU at a campus community forum tonight, which will include a presentation on the take-home naloxone kits.
Earlier this month VIU forwarded an alert from Island Health to its students, warning of the increase in overdoses.