City Council votes to test installation of naloxone kits

As part of Municipal Lobby Day, they developed a harm-reduction pitch and began talking to London city councillors about increasing access to naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose long enough to seek medical help.

Their pitch involved including naloxone kits alongside automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in city-operated facilities and was motivated by the fact that the rate of hospitalizations due to opioid overdose in London is one of the highest in Canada. Their idea is modelled after a similar initiative in the City of Kingston.

As their idea gained steam at City Hall, the students engaged the media and were invited to share their pitch at committee and council meetings

The idea was originally endorsed by the Community and Protective Services Committee at City Hall and was sent to City staff for further exploration. After a year of review, Councillors voted on March 5 to move forward with a pilot project to include naloxone in 29 city-owned facilities in London, a huge victory for the student-led pitch.

I think this is a great example of what can happen when a group of people are committed to making change in their communities. It’s very exciting to see it come to fruition,” said Jamie Riggs, Medicine Class of 2020 who was part of the pitch. “I think this experience has only encouraged those of us involved to continue advocating for better communities for our patients.”

Trystan Nault, Medicine Class of 2020 and chair of the Political Advocacy Committee, says he feels extremely proud to see the idea come to fruition. “Seeing this initiative go through the process at City Hall and come out on the other side is extremely rewarding.”

He says they set out to accomplish two goals, firstly to gain experience in being advocates for public health and secondly to see their work come to a tangible outcome. “We feel we have met both of these goals as we have certainly learned a lot in our time interacting with the City of London and are thankful that our ideas are going to be implemented.”