VIRL policy on overdoses is for staff to call 911

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 27 2018

Vancouver Island Regional Library does not and will not provide naloxone training to its staff, nor does it allow staff to intervene beyond calling 911.

This past week, the Globe and Mail covered a story in which it explained the Vancouver Public Library system has a similar policy in place - staff from the VPL expressed concern that even if they have gotten the training and overdose kits on their own, they are not able to utilize them during work hours.

On Sunday, March 24, media were reporting that the VPL had reversed that policy and would permit VPL staff that were trained in the use of naloxone to use it. Staff would be covered by Worksafe BC.

David Carson, media spokesperson for Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) said even if staff have gotten their own training and carry their own overdose kits, “in any situation where public or staff safety are at risk, including instances of substance abuse and potential overdoses, staff are instructed to call 9-1-1 immediately. 

“This approach ensures that the police, paramedics, and other qualified first responders arrive on the scene as quickly as possible. First responders are trained to assess and manage these types of situations, including administering naloxone.

“We are best able to provide a safe space by calling 9-1-1 immediately at the first sign that a member of the public could be suffering from a drug overdose.”

Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is the fifth largest library system in British Columbia. Including the Gabriola Public Library, VIRL serves over 430,000 people on Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and the Central Coast (Bella Coola) through 39 branch libraries. Administrative offices are located in Nanaimo.

Dale Burgos, communications manager for Nanaimo-Ladysmith School Division #68, said, “we have trained specific staff on how to administer naloxone in schools. This was a directive from senior staff.

“There is no specific policy on staff’s use of naloxone.”