Andrea Rondeau column: Getting something new for the office: a naloxone kit

This was something that I never would have imagined we’d have use for as little as five years ago.

We got something new for the office this week.

It wasn’t new computers, or phones to update our ancient system. It wasn’t artwork to enhance our zen, or even new toner for the printer (which has been known to cause celebration, if the need has become urgent enough that we’re literally sick of trying to read between the faded lines).

No, this was something that I never would have imagined we’d have use for as little as five years ago.

This was Mental Health Awareness Week, and to honour it the Duncan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association hosted a number of open houses at facilities they either operate or in which they have an interest. This included the overdose prevention site in Duncan on Trunk Road. Reporter Robert Barron, who has written about the site many times, but had never actually been there, headed over to check it out, and came back to the office with a naloxone kit.

The kits were being given out for free at the open house, and indeed are free from a number of sources as officials try to curb the epidemic of deaths caused by the ongoing opioid crisis.

Despite knowing that the kits have been free for the asking, it hadn’t occurred to me before now to get one for myself or the office, even though I am the designated first aid person for the Citizen.

Upon reflection, it makes sense to have one here at work.

First, the Citizen offices are in the heart of downtown Duncan at 251 Jubilee St. Lots of people pass our door, including the very visibly homeless and people with visible drug issues, and we’ve seen needles and the like in the area on occasion. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone could suffer an overdose in the vicinity. Then there’s also the fact that a lot of drug users keep their addictions a secret, and appear functional to the outside world. They are our neighbours, friends, customers and acquaintances. That someone we might not have pegged as a drug user could also have an overdose either in or around our offices is also a possibility we have to consider.

Either way, having a naloxone kit on hand could save someone’s life. So now the kit sits on top of the first aid box, accessible for use. I’ve opened it up and examined the contents, familiarizing myself with how much should be given and where on the body it should be injected. There are written instructions, but I’d prefer to have an inkling of what I’m doing in advance, if it comes down to it. I hope it doesn’t. But the scale of this crisis means we can’t live in the comfortable presumption that it will only happen somewhere else.

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