Canada is currently plagued by an opioid crisis. Opioids such as fentanyl are drugs that are commonly used to relieve pain. These drugs, however, can be extremely addictive and their misuse has led to thousands of overdoses and deaths.
In 2017, 88 Hamilton residents died from opioid overdoses. So far into this year, Hamilton Paramedic Services has already responded to 161 incidents of suspected opioid overdoses. In comparison to other cities within the province, Hamilton has the highest opioid-related death rate.
While there is no publicly available data on the demographics of opioid use in Hamilton, in general, young adults aged 18 to 25 are the most vulnerable to opioid misuse. As the rate of opioid misuse increases annually, it is imperative that students are aware of the availability of naloxone.
Naloxone is a fast-acting drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses until medical emergency services can arrive. As of March 2019, Public Health and the Naloxone Expansion Sites in Hamilton have distributed 2496 doses of naloxone, with 285 people reported as being revived by the drug.
McMaster University’s student-led Emergency First Response Team and McMaster University security officers carry and are trained to use naloxone nasal kits in case of emergency situations. While Mac’s security officers only recently began to carry the kits, EFRT responders have been carrying them since August 2017.
Fortunately, EFRT has not had to use any of their kits since they began carrying them. While this may imply that opioid-related overdoses have not occurred on campus, this does not guarantee that students are not at risk at opioid misuse.
As EFRT responders and McMaster security cannot always be available to respond to students’ needs off-campus, students should be more aware of their ability to carry and be trained to use naloxone kits.
While the Student Wellness Centre does not carry the free naloxone kit, the McMaster University Centre Pharmasave located within the McMaster University Student Centre does, in addition to the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies located near campus. To obtain a kit, all students must do is show their Ontario health card.
The fact that this life-saving drug is so readily available to students on and near campus is amazing. It is disappointing then that the university hasn’t done a sufficient job in advertising this information to students.
Students should be given naloxone kits and mandatory opioid information and response training at the beginning of the academic term. At the very least, this information can be distributed during Welcome Week along with other orientation events.
The opioid crisis is one that affects us all, especially here in Hamilton. McMaster University should help fight this crisis by ensuring that their students are equipped with the knowledge to recognize an opioid overdose and have the necessary tools to help reverse them.
By: Nichole Fanara
Dear Fellow Chocolate Aficionados,
Heed my words. Listen to my tale.
"Dear Google", I began, "why am I hopelessly devoted to Nutella?"
Google worked its hardest and in 0.12 seconds showed me the answer to all my burning questions. Turns out the answer is quite simple - chocolate is addictive.
But I couldn’t accept this. Chocolate is so good to me. I couldn’t accept that this love was simply chemical Stockholm syndrome.
So I searched further.
What I found was that chocolate has properties (other than cocoa-y deliciousness) that make you want it all the time, really badly. Like really badly. The little devils are actually the same addictive chemical found in alcohol.
I also found that apparently women crave it more than men - 40% of women in an Answers.com article crave it over only 15% of men. This has something to do with our menstrual cycles. When women are low in magnesium, there is a tendency to crave it. Thus, many women crave chocolate. Just as Mother Nature intended it.
Have I mentioned chocolate’s connection with marijuana yet? No, no it can't be found in chocolate, but according to some studies done at the University of California, a pleasure-inducing chemical found in marijuana is also found in chocolate. Here’s to hoping that the FBI doesn’t know though, because it would be a real shame if the government banned chocolate.
So friends, with all the chocolate your hunny (or you yourself) will be bringing you today, remember this one important message: practice safe chocolate.
(Hershey) hugs and kisses,