The drug an eight-year-old consumed off a Kelowna classroom floor, causing the child short-term impairment, has now been identified as an illicit kind of benzodiazepines.
The class of medication, commonly called benzos, are psychoactive drugs used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety and insomnia. Prescriptions can include drugs such as xanax, valium, ativan and clonazepam.
Overdoses caused by such drugs cannot be reversed by the naloxone, the antidote used widely to temporarily reverse opioid overdoses.
Jeremy Mills, father of Noah, said his son found the substance on the floor of his classroom at A.S. Matheson elementary last Wednesday, ingested it and was subsequently unable to speak or talk for hours.
The Grade 3 student was rushed to the hospital after consuming the substance, but multiple tests came back negative, Mills said.
The drug was able to be identified when it was found on the classroom floor of A.S. Matheson on Thursday morning and sent for testing.
“We were just glad to know what it was,” Mills said. “It’s a mixed reaction. I’m glad it’s nothing that requires post-medical care. There’s no detox or more procedures, so that’s good.”
While the results are much of a relief, Mills still has concerns about how the drug got into an elementary school classroom.
“From what we know it’s not laced with fentanyl, but it’s still an illegal street drug that shouldn’t be in the hands of an eight-year-old,” Mills said.
“What do we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again? It’s frightening to know this can happen,” he said.
The origins of the drug and how it entered the classroom remain unknown and Kelowna RCMP is continuing its investigation.
Police encourage anybody with information to contact the local detachment at 250-762-3300.
The principal of the elementary school spoke to the students in the class to ease the student’s return, help the young students understand the incident, and remind the children about safety around unknown substances.