Fraser Valley Regional District Library staff do not carry nor administer naloxone, should a drug overdose occur inside a library.
The current policy for staff is to call 911 and wait for first responders to help. The policy has been in place for the past six months.
Scott Hargrove, CEO of the FVRDL, said its member libraries don’t stock naloxone kits that can reverse an opioid overdose.
Hargrove said part of the concern is staff safety.
“I think that’s one of the things we were concerned about … that well meaning staff might leap in [to help], find somebody who was sleeping or something similar.
“We just don’t know what the training side of it would be required to make that safe,” said Hargrove.
“So at this point, we have said don’t use naloxone kits, just call 911—and then stand back,” he said.
Police, fire, paramedics and legal council were consulted between July and September of last year, as the opioid crisis continued to worsen, said Hargrove.
For the most part, libraries are located at the heart of a community and close to first responders.
Langley City Fire Rescue Service is outfitted with naloxone kits. City fire chief Rory Thompson reported to Langley City council last year that they were on pace to deal with an overdose a day in 2017.
Langley RCMP officers are also trained and outfitted with naloxone kits.
For communities like Langley City that struggle with a range of social issues, including homelessness, mental health and addiction, library staff can be challenged to deal with homeless people who come to sleep there during the day and at times, people come to the library in a drug-induced psychosis or are suffering from mental health issues.
As required under Health and Safety legislation, the FVRDL tracks occurrences in all its libraries, said Hargrove.
The City of Langley Library had 10 incidents in 2017 and another two incidents so far in 2018, where emergency services (police, fire or ambulance) attended.
There have been no drug overdoses in Langley City Library in 2017 or to date in 2018.
Librarians and staff at all libraries are provided with training on how to work effectively with challenging customers, he said.
Security guards are on duty at all times that the City of Langley Library is open.
As well, Langley City’s bylaw officers are based out of an office next to the library.
– Files from Maple Ridge News reporter