Music festival's naloxone to be left in hands of paramedics
Ban on personal naloxone kits to keep control in professional hands, medical director says
The WayHome music festival's decision to ban personal naloxone kits is based on keeping control in the hands of medical professionals, according to the event's medical director.
WayHome drew criticism this week after telling a woman planning to attend the festival she could not bring her anti-overdose kit.
So far, organizers said there is no plan to repeal the ban.
Organizers, including WayHome's medical director, Dr. Adam Lund, and his medical team, consulted public health officials, police and paramedics before finalizing their emergency response plan for the festival.
Their final decision was based on two main issues: the potential dangers of having untrained people administer the drug, and the public's lack of understanding of how naloxone works.
"We've made sure we have adequate services to make sure people can stay safe," Lund said, adding the festival's medical team will have access to 200 naloxone kits.
Naloxone not a 'one-stop solution'
Lund said he's a "strong supporter" of equipping people with naloxone, but he understands why a private event would limit access to first responders.
"Naloxone is not a one-stop solution," he said, explaining that overdose victims may need further medical treatment. "As a third-party provider, if someone just gives naloxone that might not be an adequate solution, we have to do all that other important stuff [too]."
If no one from the medical team is there, that person can deteriorate...- Dr. Adam Lund, WayHome's medical director
Lund also says some people who have been trained to administer naloxone aren't aware it's a temporary antidote, wearing off in 30 to 90 minutes.
If emergency care isn't continued the person can relapse, something paramedics are trained to address.
"If no one from the medical team is there, that person can deteriorate after the Narcan [a name brand of nasal spray naloxone] wears off," Lund said.
- How to administer naloxone in case of opioid overdose
- Naloxone kits fly off Ottawa pharmacy's shelves
With regard to the legality of administering a drug without that person's approval, Lund said there is a difference between naloxone kits and an EpiPen or insulin.
"Naloxone is designed to give to a third party. The difference is that [those] medications are self-administered by someone awake and conscious," Lund said.
Ontario's Good Samaritan Act offers legal protection for people who assist someone in trouble.