Overdose Crisis
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Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

BC announces new drug guidelines for provincial universities in response to UVic teen’s death

Schools must provide easily accessible naloxone, text alerts on toxic drugs, and clear rules about responding to emergencies.

Robyn Bell
July 10, 2024
Overdose Crisis
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

BC announces new drug guidelines for provincial universities in response to UVic teen’s death

Schools must provide easily accessible naloxone, text alerts on toxic drugs, and clear rules about responding to emergencies.

Robyn Bell
Jul 10, 2024
Sidney McIntyre-Starko died from toxic drugs in her UVic dorm in January. Photo: sidneyshouldbehere.ca
Sidney McIntyre-Starko died from toxic drugs in her UVic dorm in January. Photo: sidneyshouldbehere.ca
Overdose Crisis
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

BC announces new drug guidelines for provincial universities in response to UVic teen’s death

Schools must provide easily accessible naloxone, text alerts on toxic drugs, and clear rules about responding to emergencies.

Robyn Bell
July 10, 2024
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BC announces new drug guidelines for provincial universities in response to UVic teen’s death
Sidney McIntyre-Starko died from toxic drugs in her UVic dorm in January. Photo: sidneyshouldbehere.ca

BC’s Post-Secondary Overdose Prevention and Response Steering Committee has released its first list of actions to reduce the risk of toxic drugs, planned for implementation this fall.

The committee was formed in May after information on the death of Sidney McIntyre-Starko, 18, who died after taking recreational drugs in her UVic dorm in January, became public. McIntyre-Starko’s parents have criticized the school and how the incident was handled by campus security, saying her death could have been prevented. Her parents wrote in an open letter that, although campus security and 911 were both called, security waited nine minutes to administer the naloxone they carried and 12 minutes to begin CPR. It took nearly as much time for paramedics to be dispatched. A person can survive approximately four to six minutes without breathing before brain damage begins.

Post-secondary Minister Lisa Beare admitted there were gaps in policies to address the toxic drug crisis at BC schools. She developed the committee—along with post-secondary faculty, health experts, and First Nations representatives—to spend the summer creating guidelines to prevent a repeat of what happened at UVic.

The committee will continue to develop overdose prevention and response actions for public post-secondary schools to take when the fall semester begins.

Actions to be implemented immediately include:

Rules on contacting emergency services

Schools must make all students and staff aware that 911 must be called immediately and before other resources like campus security. 

Toxic drug alerts: 

All post-secondary schools must sign up and share info on the service Toward the Heart, which sends toxic-drug alert systems by text. Students can sign up for it to report or receive notice of toxic drugs in the area. Other info, such as where to find naloxone on campus, will be available through this service. 

Access to naloxone: 

Post-secondary schools must have naloxone—also known as Narcan—readily available and accessible on campuses throughout BC. 

Distribution guidelines are currently being developed by the steering committee to determine the best way to distribute naloxone around each campus and where access is easiest.

Nasal naloxone—an easy-to-use option—will be donated by the province to 25 public post-secondary schools.

Overdose prevention awareness

The steering committee is developing an awareness campaign to be rolled out this fall,  highlighting how to use nasal and injectable naloxone and information on harm-reduction and treatment services. 

Some of this communication will be tailored for key groups, including students living on campus, those in trade programs, and other vulnerable populations. 

More training for staff: 

Campus securities will receive enhanced harm reduction training and schools must update how they communicate medical emergencies, with protocols on how to contact families.

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Robyn Bell
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BC announces new drug guidelines for provincial universities in response to UVic teen’s death
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