NEW Opioids Overdose Response Training to Empower High School Students to Help Save Lives

OTTAWA, June 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is launching the NEW Opioids Overdose Response Training as an enhancement to its successful High School cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) Program, FREE for high schools across Canada.

The training will teach students:

  • What are opioids and how do opioid overdoses happen
  • What is Naloxone and how does it work
  • Recognizing a suspected opioid overdose
  • Responding to a suspected opioid overdose including calling 911 quickly, performing CPR if needed and giving nasal Naloxone

“The landscape of emergency response is changing in Canada due to the increase of opioid overdoses and we all have a role to play,” says Sandra Clarke, the ACT Foundation’s Executive Director. “Enhancing ACT’s High School CPR and AED Program with opioid awareness and response training is a next step in empowering youth to respond to life-threatening emergencies. This new program will see teachers training hundreds of thousands of students in how to respond to opioid-associated emergencies.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that over 5,368 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred from January–September 2021. The majority (94%) of opioid overdose deaths happen by accident. Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 are the fastest-growing population requiring hospital care from opioid overdoses.1 ACT has received a contribution from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) in support of the development and implementation of the module on Opioids Overdose Response Training.

“All corners of the country have felt the tragic consequences of the overdose crisis, which continues to affect individuals, families, and communities every day. The timely use of Naloxone for those experiencing an overdose can be life saving. To the ACT Foundation and all those who continue to make opioid overdose training available, and to the many people who are choosing to learn valuable skills that could save lives, we thank you,” says Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health (Health Canada), Hon. Carolyn Bennett.

The opioid-associated emergency module enables teachers (Train the Trainer model) to provide the theory portion of the education in an eLearning format to students as a self-paced learning tool. Teachers will then provide the practical training portion to their students in the classroom.

“The new module was developed based on a successful Ottawa pilot in 2019. Results from the pilot were extremely positive with strong interest and enthusiasm expressed by teachers and students,” says Dr. Michael Austin, ACT’s National Medical Director. “The opioid crisis is a complex issue and causes many of the opioid-related harms and deaths. ACT’s response to this crisis empowers high school teachers to add the Opioid Overdose Response Training to the current CPR training, enhancing students’ lifesaving toolbox. Recognizing a suspected opioid overdose and knowing how to respond can help save lives.”

ACT’s overall goal is to see every high school student across Canada graduate with the skills and knowledge to save a life. To help achieve this goal, ACT receives the financial support from private and public organizations who believe in the positive impact ACT can play in Canada’s society.

“As a long-standing partner of the ACT Foundation, we’re proud of the impact they have had around CPR and AED education across the country – and are excited to see them enhance their program to include opioid awareness and overdose response training, an increasingly growing issue among today’s youth,” says Kiersten Combs, President, AstraZeneca Canada. “Empowering youth with these critical life-saving skills is incredibly important to helping save lives.”

“We applaud the efforts of the ACT Foundation as a pioneer in establishing free lifesaving training in high schools. It is an honour to participate as a National Health Partner, realizing CPR and AED training in over 1,800 high schools to date,” mentions Dr. Suna Avcil, Executive Medical Director, Amgen Canada.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is the national charitable organization establishing free CPR and AED training in Canadian high schools. The program is built on ACT’s award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners who donate the mannequins and AED training units that schools need to deliver the program. High school teachers are trained to then teach lifesaving skills to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. The ACT High School CPR and AED Program is made possible with the support of its national health partners, AstraZeneca Canada and Amgen Canada. The ACT Foundation gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) for the ACT Opioid Overdose Response Training program.

Twitter: @actfoundation #ACT2Save
Facebook: @theactfoundation
Instagram: @actfoundation

For more information about the ACT Foundation and the ACT Opioid Overdose Response Training contact:
Christian AhuetCristiane Doherty
Senior ConsultantCommunications Manager
National Public RelationsACT Foundation
Tel: 514-994-7496Cell: 613-799-9277


ACT-Infographic June 2022-EN