July 17th, 2024

McCoy students receive ‘life-saving’ naloxone training

By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on October 26, 2023.

Kym Porter of the Medicine Hat Drug Coalition holding a photo of her son Neil who died in 2016 of fentanyl poisoning, student Kayla Petit, Judi Frank from the Red Cross and student Hayley Volk in the gym at McCoy High following a Naloxone training session.--NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON


Kym Porter with the Medicine Hat Drug Coalition and Judi Frank with the Red Cross were at Monsignor McCoy High School this week to deliver optional naloxone training to any student interested in receiving it.

“Similar to CPR or first aid, Naloxone training is a life-saving skill,” stated Hugh Lehr, associate superintendent learning services with the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education. “The training equips those who take it with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively in case they encounter someone experiencing an opioid overdose. This knowledge can be crucial in saving the lives of anyone in our community who might be at risk. We are lucky that our students at Monsignor McCoy have the opportunity to access nasal naloxone training if they choose to do so, through the service provided by Red Cross.”

At the beginning of training, Porter told students gathered in the gym, “I want to ensure your parents don’t have to grieve an untimely loss as well as you not having to grieve for a friend gone too soon, so thanks for being here.”

Frank added, “We have been working together, Kym and I, for close to a year now and I’ve think we’ve distributed close to 900 nasal kits in that year. Definitely a success from our perspective and what we’ve been able to do to help spread awareness around opioids and opioid use.”

Each student who attended the training session was given a nasal naloxone kit free of charge, which contains two doses of naloxone, gloves and a face shield to use if rescue breathing needs to be administered. The kits normally cost about $150 at a pharmacy, although the injectable naloxone kits are free, and were made available due to a grant from Health Canada.

Frank and Porter warned the students that naloxone doesn’t like extreme temperatures and shouldn’t be kept in a vehicle but carried into and out of the house each day.

Student Kayla Petit was at the training and said, “I feel like it’s a good skill to have, not many people who have the skills will want to do it and if I know that I could potentially save a life, that is 100% something I would do no matter what. I go downtown a lot, I think that is another reason that I’m big on taking this course.”

Hayley Volk lived in Edmonton prior to moving to Medicine Hat a few months ago and she is now attending McCoy and took advantage of the opportunity to be retrained. She took Naloxone training at the library in Edmonton and a few weeks later came across an individual on the train who had passed out.

“I pulled the emergency alarm, checked for a pulse, did all my steps, then administered naloxone, which was terrifying, but she didn’t die so that’s good,” Volk explained.

Even though the experience was traumatic, Volk would do it again because drug use is a reality and having access to the kits is important to prevent an unnecessary death.

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