|A naloxone anti-overdose kit is shown in Vancouver in Feb. 12017.|
(JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
As part of the city’s response to the opioid crisis, the Toronto Public Library will provide staff with life-saving naloxone to administer when overdoses happen at branches.
Public safety and health officials have already been providing mandatory first-aid training to all library staff, with basic information on recognizing overdoses and what to do. But as the crisis keeps getting worse, the library is encouraging willing staff to provide the medication, which reverses overdose symptoms.
“As a public space, we want to offer a safe and welcoming environment to everyone,” said Pam Ryan, director of service development and innovation at the library. “We have to be responsive to our community needs, and the opioid crisis is an urgent issue that’s affecting so many people in Toronto. We can’t just look away.”
A report on the agenda for next week’s public library board meeting shows there are already arrangements to acquire naloxone kits through the city at a cost of $145 per pack. They’d only be purchased as needed and distributed to qualified staff after they volunteer to complete the training. The library is also buying personal protective equipment for staff.
The opioid crisis has seen a sharp increase in Toronto. Between 2004 and 2015, overdose deaths increased by 73 per cent, according to Toronto Public Health. The city is currently running a temporary safe-injection site, which will be replaced by three permanent.
Ryan said the library responds to customer health emergencies on a regular basis, and suspected overdoses have been reported across the library system.
“The first step is always to call 911, but if we have staff who are trained on the administration of naloxone, then they can proceed to that step,” she said.
Source: Toronto Star