Photo by Andrea Marie Tan.
Photo by Andrea Marie Tan.

In the examination rooms at UBC Okanagan’s Health and Wellness, there is a printout hung on the cabinet advertising “Harm Reduction Supplies.” According to the flyer, if a student “require[s] any supplies for safer smoking or injection,” they can see Jean in Health and Wellness. The flyer states that there is no judgement, and that the purpose of the supplies is to help students stay safe.

Roger Wilson, the Director of Health and Wellness stated that UBC Okanagan began stocking supplies for harm reduction and Naloxone kits beginning roughly in 2016, when the Fentanyl crisis began gaining more attention. Naloxone, according to the government of British Columbia’s website, is a medication that can “quickly reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, methadone, fentanyl and morphine. It is available in BC without a prescription and often given as an injection into a muscle.” Since UBC began offering these kits, more stores such as London Drugs have begun stocking harm reduction supplies, where students can go to get these supplies as an alternative to Health and Wellness.

Photo by Don Erhardt.
Photo by Don Erhardt.

In order to get a kit, a student must receive training. This training can be done online, and takes less than ten minutes. After the training is complete, the student will just have to show the nurse the certificate received after successful completion of the course to get a kit. Roger stated that Health and Wellness also offers these kits after large school events, most recently with Fright Night. If a student wants a kit for any reason, the staff on hand will give the student the training needed to receive the kit, and then they will be able to get the kit.

The visits to get a kit for safe smoking or injection supplies are confidential. When booking an appointment, students can say that the purpose is for a private 20-minute appointment with Jean. To book an appointment call 250-807-9270.