Port Moody’s frontline staff may soon receive training with naloxone kits to help save people suffering from a lethal dose of drugs.
Following the 7th anniversary of the provincial declaration of the public health crisis in April, Port Moody councillors vowed to take more action.
On May 9, Couns. Samantha Agtarap and Haven Lurbiecki successfully introduced a motion to get staff to investigate options related to cost and training for training the city’s frontline employees.
Both councillors served as representatives on the TriCities Overdose Community Action Team.
Lurbiecki said council’s discussion last month resonated with her, and training staff would be a quick action to show the city’s commitment to help mitigate the crisis.
“The last six years, as you all know, has just been absolutely devastating on communities, individuals and families and continues to be unacceptable,” she said. “This is a first step.”
A total of 292 local residents have died since the crisis was announced. Last year, 2,272 B.C. residents died from the toxic drug supply.
Naloxone is a medicine used to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, often restoring normal breathing within a few minutes.
While life-saving kits are already available free of charge at pharmacies, training staff and keeping kits at city facilities would provide broader access to harm reduction services in the city, Agtarap said.
She added accidental death is the leading cause of death in people from 10 to 39-years old, and city facilities serve a diverse age range.
“I hope that we can all agree that harm reduction in the form of naloxone kits in this case is a simple step we can take to hopefully reduce toxic drug deaths in our city,” Agtrarap said.
Coun. Amy Lubik and Mayor Meghan Lahti both thanked their colleagues for bringing the motion forward.
“This is very needed,” Lubik said. “This is not getting any better, it’s getting worse, and anything that we can do to help educate the public and make sure everybody who can be as ready to take action when they can is so important.”
Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tri-Cities Dispatch