Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Bars Carrying Naloxone Kits in Face of Growing Opioid Crisis

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Bars Carrying Naloxone Kits in Face of Growing Opioid Crisis

Article excerpt

Toronto bars carrying naloxone kits

--

TORONTO - Within days of opening her new bar in west-end Toronto, Carmen Elle had equipped the venue with what she considers a key piece of equipment: a naloxone kit.

Elle, who is also a musician, said it took time to find a pharmacy that carried the free kits, which are used to temporarily reverse overdoses from opioids including the deadly drug fentanyl.

But having one on hand -- and making sure staff know how to use it -- is crucial to ensure the venue, named Less Bar, is a safe space for all patrons, she said.

"Any possible way to avoid somebody seriously OD-ing and possibly dying, I think it's the responsibility of everybody who manages and runs these spaces (to do it)," Elle said. "Why wouldn't we all just do that? It's so easy."

As public health officials across Canada seek ways to tackle what they've called a growing opioid crisis, some in the nightlife industry are taking steps of their own.

Several bars and music venues in Toronto now stock naloxone kits, and while the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association does not have a policy on the opioid antidote, its president Tony Elenis said members are taking precautions nonetheless.

The bar owners association of Quebec, meanwhile, said it was weighing a policy on naloxone kits, with a decision expected in the coming weeks. The Alliance of Beverage Licensees of British Columbia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lee's Palace, a popular music venue in Toronto, got a kit earlier this year after its assistant manager, Norm Maschke, was advised to do so by a friend who is an outreach worker.

Since then, Maschke has encouraged others to follow suit, saying the kits are "a must, not just a want."

"People do like to party late at night at bars and music clubs and elsewhere and it would be in our best interest to make sure that if somebody does end up in a compromising position that we can at least help them as best we can. To not do it is negligent," he said.

So far, there have been no fentanyl-related incidents at Lee's, Maschke said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.