Family of 18-year-old who overdosed in UVic dorm says naloxone needs to be more available on B.C. campuses

Family of 18-year-old who overdosed in UVic dorm says naloxone needs to be more available on B.C. campuses
Sidney McIntyre-Starko is shown.

There are questions over how an 18-year-old UVic student who overdosed in a dorm filled with people died in January this year.

Sidney McIntyre-Starko’s family says she was one of three students who suffered an accidental fentanyl poisoning in a UVic dorm on Jan. 23. In a website calling for change in the wake of her death, her family put down a timeline outlining when Sidney and one other student lost consciousness and collapsed, before gurgling and gasping for air and turning blue.

Her family says campus security who responded failed her. According to 911 calls the family accessed, security waited nine minutes before giving her naloxone, and 12 minutes before starting CPR.

A week later, Sidney was declared brain dead.

“She died a preventable death,” her family writes on the website.

UVic campus security has a different story.

The full story can be viewed below:

“The security officers followed the protocols of their first-aid training, starting with a scene assessment, triaging and then into emergency first aid, such as vital checks, administering naloxone and then CPR. They made every effort, within their areas of expertise and training, to save Sidney’s life. These efforts didn’t save Sidney’s life, but they did save the life of another student that night,” said Jessica Maclean, UVic director of campus security.

While not admitting any fault, UVic campus security has made changes in the wake of Sidney’s death, like a new 911 procedure and offering more in house training. The university as a whole is increasing harm reduction communications to students, while adding free naloxone training and reviewing their emergency contact protocols.

The family is asking for more, including mandatory CPR and naloxone training for high school students, free and widely available naloxone on campus and a coroner’s inquest into her death.

Sidney McIntyre-Starko is shown. (Submitted)

“There are serious questions that need to be answered about this horrific death,” Premier David Eby said Thursday during question period, promising that Solicitor General Mike Farnworth will direct a coroner’s inquest into her death.

The gesture was criticized in the legislature and elsewhere.

“More words are not gonna be enough. What are needed are changes so we get different results,” said Kevin Falcon, leader of BC United.

“What will an inquest do?” asked Correne Antrobus, with Mom’s Stop the Harm. “I think them talking about doing an investigation into this young girl’s life is a political move… The coroner has explained in great detail what needs to be done to stem the deaths in this crisis, and unfortunately no one is taking her advice.”

Sidney’s death is preceded by thousands of others. It’s been eight years since the province announced a public health emergency over the toxic drug supply.

“This is just another story of someone who didn’t need to die,” said Antrobus.

Her family is hoping their daughter’s death wasn’t in vain but results in reform.

SEE ALSO: Vancouver Island among highest drug death rates in B.C., but province sees 11% decrease in Feb.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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