On the evening of October 26, 2017, Hopewell Avenue Public School’s Parent Council organized a parent information session on substance use, addiction, and gaming. Andrew Mendes from Rideauwood Addiction & Family Services gave an excellent presentation to about 50 parents that focused on how to talk about and deal with substance use among elementary school aged children as well as teenagers.
Fentanyl and Carfentanil
While too much was discussed to provide a complete overview of the presentation, one of the more pertinent discussions revolved around the opioid crisis that is sweeping across North America with devastating effects. As Andrew pointed out, one of the reasons Fentanyl and Carfentanil are so incredibly dangerous is because they are such potent drugs. Fentanyl is between 50 to 100 times more toxic than Morphine, while Carfentanil is 100 times more toxic than Fentanyl (i.e. 10,000 times more toxic than Morphine). And these two opioids aren’t just cut into drugs like heroin, they are added to pretty much any drug available, including counterfeit prescription drugs that are made to look like actual prescription drugs (like OxyContin).
The only thing that can counteract the effects of overdosing on Fentanyl or Carfentanil—other than prevention—is a drug called Naloxone. And many provinces have started equipping their first responders with Naloxone Kits to help combat the opioid crisis. In addition, Ontario, like many other provinces, has begun to make Naloxone Kits available to the general public.
Andrew Mendes of Rideauwood went as far as to say that he recommends every family that has a teenager in their household should have a Naloxone Kit at home.
Where are Naloxone Kits Available in Old Ottawa South?
Shoppers Drug Mart - Yes
All you need is a valid Health Card, and any pharmacy in Ottawa, including our local Shoppers, will give you a Naloxone Kit and a brief training session. The Shoppers Drug Mart on Bank Street typically carries around 3 Naloxone Kits, but when they run out, delivery of new kits is the next day. Our local Shoppers is open daily from 8:00 am-10:00 pm.
Local Bars - No
I reached out to several of the local businesses in our neighbourhood that are open beyond 10:00 pm to find out if they have Naloxone Kits on site. Quinn Hodgins informed me that Quinn’s and Patty’s currently do not have a kit. I also heard back from Steve Ryan from The Senate on Bank and they also do not currently have a kit. I did not hear back from the Barley Mow, but it’s safe to assume they also do not currently have a kit on site.
House of TARG - Yes
House of TARG on the other hand, informed me that they have several kits on premise and they have trained all their staff. House of TARG is open until 2:00 am, Wednesday to Sunday.
Belmont - Yes
Belmont also carries a Naloxone Kit. They are open until midnight on Thursdays and Saturdays and until 2am on Fridays and Sundays.
Firehall - No
I also reached out to the Firehall, and Christy Savage informed me that the city needs to review their policies before they can commit to having Naloxone Kits available at their community centres. While OSCA would have been allowed to stock and manage their own kits, it was decided that this would be too complicated and confusing, given that many of the more visible staff (e.g. front desk, late at night, and on weekends) are city employees and not OSCA employees. In addition, OSCA’s insurer insisted that if a kit were present, staff would have to be trained by a medical professional and would necessitate the creation of a policy and guidelines document. Given the availability of kits elsewhere in the community, OSCA decided not to go through the process of getting Naloxone Kits.
Between Shoppers, House of TARG, and Belmont, Naloxone Kits are available in our neighbourhood every day until 10 pm and Wednesday to Sunday until 2 am.
For more information and resources about the opioid crisis and Naloxone, check out StopOverdoseOttawa.ca.
Erik van der Torre has lived in Old Ottawa South for over 8 years. He is a member of the OSCA board, the Traffic & Safety Committee, and Hopewell Avenue PS’ Parent Council.
Originally published in the December 2017 OSCAR.