Montreal

McGill student to offer free naloxone kit training workshops

This week and next, free workshops are being held at McGill University to show people how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote which is available for free at Quebec pharmacies without a prescription.

'The training is relatively simple': Richard Davy says opioid antidote should be part of every first aid kit

Richard Davy, a first-year social work student at McGill University, wants everybody to be trained in how to use a naloxone kit to help save lives. (Isaac Olson/CBC)

This week and next, free workshops are being held at McGill University to show people how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote which is available for free at Quebec pharmacies without a prescription.

Richard Davy, a first-year McGill social work student, is running the workshops this week and next.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 181 opioid-related deaths in Quebec last year, and that's a number Davy would like to see reduced.

He told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Monday he got the idea after doing outreach work in the city and seeing first-hand how serious the problem is in Montreal.

"We noticed that there was definitely an issue with people overusing opioids," he said.

After learning more about naloxone and how to administer the life-saving drug, he decided everybody should have such training.

At the workshops, Davy will discuss the opioid crisis in Montreal and across Canada and teach people how to use the kits properly.

For someone without medical training, the kit can be intimidating, he said, as it involves an intramuscular injection of the antidote.

"But the training is relatively simple," he said. "I think a lot of it is understanding what it does and the impact it can have on someone's life."

Davy said in each kit, there are two retractable syringes, two vials of naloxone, gloves, alcohol pads, instructions and mouth guards for delivering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The drug will not hurt someone who is not overdosing, he noted.

An injection of naloxone can prevent death due to a heroin, morphine or fentanyl overdose. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

When someone appears unconscious from an opioid overdose, he said the first step is to stimulate the person, to see if they're awake.

If the victim is unresponsive, the next steps are to open the airway, ventilate and medicate. Administering naloxone, involves loading the syringe with the drug and injecting it into a muscular area at a 90-degree angle.

Anyone over the age 14 can request a kit at a pharmacy.

"They should be part of our first aid kits with the amount of opioid prescriptions these days," said Davy.

The first workshop, which is open to anybody and free, is being held at noon Wednesday in the Wendy Patrick Room at the McGill School of Social Work, 3506 University Street.

A second workshop is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. Participants will leave with a free naloxone kit.

More information about the Naloxone & Overdose Response Training for Non-Medical Professionals workshops can be found on the following Facebook page.

- With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak

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