Hamilton

McMaster University security officers will now carry naloxone kits

McMaster University officers will start carrying naloxone spray at the end of April.

Starting at the end of April McMaster University officers will start carrying naloxone nasal kits

McMaster Universities' special constables will start carrying naloxone spray starting the end of April. (JD Howell )

McMaster University's special constables will be equipped with naloxone kits by the end of April.

With classes coming to an end, McMaster's student-led Emergency First Response Team's (EFRT) hours are decreasing—meaning a new safety team had to step up to the task. 

"In the summer we have summer school, we have conferences— the campus is still open and activities are ongoing," Glenn DeCaire, McMaster University's director of parking and security said in a written report. "Our special constables are on campus 24 hours a day and 365 days a year." 

Nonetheless, McMaster University isn't new to its safety teams carrying the life-saving antidote. 

Training themto administer naloxone nasal spray will help keep our community safer.- Glenn DeCaire, McMaster Universities' director of parking and security 

In August 2017, EFRT started to carry naloxone nasal kits as a way to help potential victims of opioid overdoses. 

DeCaire says McMaster has always wanted their special constables to have access to naloxone in case of emergencies. 

"This discussion has been going on since EFRT started carrying naloxone," DeCaire said.

DeCaire says EFRT hasn't had to use any of their intranasal kits since they started carrying them last August. 

EFRT services runs 24 hours and seven days a week during the university's regular school terms, as a team trained for primary first-aid cases says DeClaire. However since classes are winding down so are the EFRT's hours.

It's important the special constables carry naloxone now more than ever, says DeCaire.

"Training them [the special constables] to administer naloxone nasal spray will help keep our community safer by filling the gap that's left when EFRT is not available," DeCaire said in the report.

Hamilton's opioid-crisis is still on-going 

McMaster has never experienced an overdose, DeCaire says, however: "Given the opioid crisis across the country plus the impact here in Hamilton, we feel it is best to be prepared in anticipation of [an opioid-related overdose], then we will be ready for it."

In the first few months of 2018, 42 people were suspected to have overdosed from opioid-related narcotics.

Between January and October of 2017, 70 people died due to opioid-related causes.

(Interactive opioid tool)

Naloxone works as an opiate antidote, meaning the drug works as a temporary reliever. It takes about five minutes for the antidote to kick in and reverse the opioid drug, giving emergency crews enough time to get the patient to further healthcare. 

In 2017, Hamilton's Public Health Services distributed 1700 naloxone kits across the city.

According to a report issued out by the city of Hamilton, 453 of naloxone kits were used on people who were associated with opioid overdoses.

DeCaire believes McMaster is taking a step in the right direction to help end the opioid-crisis in the city alongside Hamilton police, who recently stated they'll be equipping their front-line officers with naloxone kits.

"I'm really proud of our officers to be able to administer this and take up the challenge that is any life-saving effort we can bring to the campus." 

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