The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) offered an informative presentation on substance abuse within the educational setting at the Portage la Prairie School Board meeting last night. Of particular note were the programs that are already offered to students throughout the division and especially Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI). PCI has a Teen Clinic which operates with an on-site Addictions Counselor from AFM.

Superintendent Todd Cuddington shares where he thinks the division is in terms of support systems for students.

"I think that the Portage la Prairie School Division has really set the bar high," says Cuddington. "Other divisions look at what we're doing and consult with out staff about the benefits of those services."

Support and counseling services were emphasized along with a few new ideas such as having naloxone available in the clinic should the need arise. Cuddington notes he is happy with the services the way they are, as they're mandated by Manitoba Health. He adds they have an RCMP Liason Officer on site in the event of an opioid overdose incident. RCMP officers carry naloxone for emergency administration. He also spoke about what the long-lasting benefits the systems they have in place can have on student's lives.

"Those services ultimately will lead to care for the child or young adult," says Cuddington. "That will increase the likelihood of them completing high school. A student who completes high school has a much brighter future in so many ways than one who doesn't. I think that the services that we're providing to kids are great, and the community should be proud of those things."