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Board meeting notes June 18, 2014

Jul 02, 2014
Treatment to reverse opioid overdose heads to community Tornado prompts health unit response Annual report presented to board of health

Treatment to reverse opioid overdose heads to community

Overdoses caused by the misuse of painkillers in the opioid family have resulted in an alarming number of deaths in Simcoe and Muskoka in recent years. In response, the health unit is rolling out a kit containing Naloxone, an antidote to opioid overdoses. The POD kits (Preventing Opioid Death) will be made available free of charge starting in July, to individuals who are using opioids and have received training in using the kits, the board of health learned this week. Prior to this program, Naloxone was only available at hospitals or through advanced care paramedics in Simcoe County. The new program will bring Naloxone closer to those at risk of overdose, to allow a more rapid response.

If misused, opioids such as fentanyl, codeine, oxycodone or morphine will cause the heart and breathing to slow, resulting in death. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids in the brain, reversing the symptoms within one to five minutes. The drug has no other side effects, other than stopping the overdose and creating symptoms similar to withdrawal.

Naloxone is being provided free to health units by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care so that programs can be implemented across the province. Each year in Ontario, 300 to 400 people die from opioid overdoses.

Tornado prompts health unit response

With power out and homes damaged in Angus from the June 17 tornado, the health unit has issued cautions to residents related to perishable foods in their homes, and about  private well water that may be compromised. The health unit also provides public health related input at the County’s emergency operations centre, Ted Devine, the director of health protection told the board of health this week.

Annual report presented to board of health

The health unit’s 2013-1014 community report shows that more than a third of people in Simcoe and Muskoka drink above the national Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines, a rate significantly higher than the Ontario average. On a more positive note, a challenge among hospitals and long-term care facilities, organized by the health unit, has helped raise the percentage of health care workers vaccinated against influenza to 10 per cent above the provincial average. Municipal planners have begun adopting some of the language recommended by the health unit in their official plans, making urban spaces more people-friendly. In an agency-wide initiative, health unit programs are being assessed for their ability to reach the most vulnerable of the region’s residents. In many cases, small adjustments to those programs will make them more accessible to the people who most need them.

The agency’s annual community report is available online.

Next Meeting

The board of health breaks for the summer.

The next meeting of the board of health takes place

Sept. 17 at 9:15 a.m. at 15 Sperling Drive, Barrie, ON.

News releases are stored here dating back to spring 2005. Earlier news releases are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by calling the health unit during business hours.

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