Life-saving overdose kits may soon be at Mississauga community centres

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Published May 3, 2023 at 3:37 pm

(Photo: Hamilton Health Sciences)

Mississauga will look into equipping its dozen or more community centres with life-saving drug overdose kits after a City councillor raised the issue last week.

In response to Ward 2 Councillor Alvin Tedjo’s questions about whether Mississauga’s community centres should have naloxone kits on site and if they’re adequately stocked with life-saving EpiPens, senior City of Mississauga staff said they’d look at both and report back.

Tedjo raised his concerns at the City’s April 26 meeting of general committee, noting the naloxone kits are free of charge and they’d potentially save lives if and when needed at the facilities.

The kits are portable pouches containing an opioid antidote that can be administered by injection or through the nose to revive an unresponsive person who is overdosing. They include enough medicine to reverse opioid overdoses for 10-15 minutes, allowing time to access emergency services.

As for the EpiPens, the councillor hinted that more may be needed and made available to the public, not only to trained community centre staff.

An EpiPen is an auto-injector device carried by someone at risk of having a severe allergic reaction, also called anaphylaxis, to various allergens like food, insects, medication, latex and other causes. Once administered, it automatically injects epinephrine to decrease the body’s allergic reaction.

Ward 2 Councillor Alvin Tedjo wants to take another look at First Aid services and equipment available at Mississauga’s community centres. 

Referencing an earlier report from City staff in recent years dealing with EpiPens and overall First Aid equipment available at the community centres, Tedjo said he’d like to revisit the matter with an eye possibly toward improving both First Aid items available and training.

As for the naloxone kits, Tedjo said “if we could incorporate that into…enhancing First Aid at community centres available for residents, I think that would be something that would be great to have in our community centres.”

City staff said they’ll look into both matters and report back to councillors.

They added that, in the past, there “were some challenges with having (EpiPens) publicly available like an AED (automated external defibrillator) is.”

Cost, misuse of the EpiPens and “at the time, there was quite a shortage of EpiPens” are among staff’s potential concerns.

They added that in addition to staff at all Mississauga community centres having access to and training with the EpiPens, the life-saving items are also on all city fire trucks.

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