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Naloxone kits to be installed in all Richmond city facilities, unlike in Vancouver

Four people died in Richmond of suspected overdoses or drug poisonings in October, according to the BC Coroners Service.
Overdose-reversing kits will be available at the Olympic Oval as well as at other Richmond city buildings.

Four people died in Richmond in October of suspected overdoses or drug poisonings, according to the latest statistics released by the BC Coroners Service.

And, without much fanfare, Richmond city council gave its final stamp of approval to have kits available in all civic buildings including the Richmond Olympic Oval to reverse opioid overdoses.

City council had approved this initiative already the week before in its committee meeting, but it came back for a final vote on Monday.

The initiative came from Coun. Kash Heed, who said in his rationale naloxone kits can “potentially save lives before medical professionals arrive.”

While most opioid deaths in B.C. occur in Vancouver – with 46 deaths in October alone compared to four in Richmond – City of Vancouver civic facilities do not have a broad-sweeping policy to have naloxone kits in their facilities.

A Vancouver city spokesperson told the Richmond News that some of their facilities do have Naloxone kits and staff receive training to use them, but they are not available at all facilities.

And some staff in Vancouver have independently received naloxone training.

“The city supports employees who have obtained training on their own initiative and elect to administer naloxone in response to a suspected opioid overdose,” the spokesperson explained.

So far in 2023, 20 people have died in Richmond of suspected overdoses or drug poisonings. In Vancouver, this number is 522.

In October, Richmond Fire-Rescue responded to 24 overdoses or drug poisoning calls. Of these, 16 were indoors while eight took place outdoors.

“By preventing fatal overdoses, we can help protect not only individuals who use opioids, but also their families, friends, and communities from the devastating impact of losing a loved one,” Heed said in his motion.

He also noted good Samaritan laws “protect individuals who administer naloxone in good faith from legal repercussions.”

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