Local organizations observe International Overdose Awareness Day

  • Sep. 2, 2015 8:34 p.m.

Members of the community gathered alongside staff of the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society (CAANS) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on Monday in support of International Overdose Awareness Day.

The global event is held annually to raise awareness around accidental drug-related overdoses and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths while acknowledging the effects an overdose related death of a loved one can have on family, friends and communities.

During the local event staff from CAANS and the CMHA heard from around 14 individuals during a ‘sharing circle’ about their personal stories surrounding overdoses, including those who overdosed themselves and survived or those who lost loved ones due to an accidental drug-related overdose.

“One of the reoccurring themes among the sharing circle today was the lack of common knowledge around the fact that if you stop taking drugs for a period time, your tolerance will become lower,” explained Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, executive director of CAANS. “When people then begin taking drugs again they will take what they’ve always taken and we will see higher rates of overdose.”

“We encourage people to never use alone and to know their limits.”

In the first six months of 2015 the Alberta Health Services Central Zone saw 19 overdose deaths related to Fentanyl, a drug 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade heroin. Of those deaths, 10 were in Red Deer.

In a means to address the rising Fentanyl-related overdose deaths across the province, Alberta Health Services, in collaboration with the Alberta Community Council on HIV, funded a take home Naloxone kit program.

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse overdose from Fentanyl and other opiates if administered right away via a syringe into muscle.

The overdose prevention drug acts as a rapid blockade of opiate brain receptors in the central nervous system, allowing the individual overdosing more time to make it to an emergency care facility. In order to receive a prescription for Naloxone, opiate users must visit the Street Clinic before receiving take home kits.

Since CAANS began administering the take home Naloxone to opiate users in Red Deer in early July, 46 kits have been handed out with a total of eight kits being used to prevent users from overdosing.

“We did hear from the one person today who used her kit over the weekend,” said Denelle Williams, registered nurse for the Women’s Program at CAANS who assists in training people to use their Naloxone kits. “Her friend who was with her today was there when she overdosed and was blown away – it made her realize she also likely needed a kit.”

Vanderschaege added the fact they have seen the recorded use of eights kits thus far in Red Deer means there are potentially eight lives saved from accidental drug overdoses.

For more information on overdose prevention, visit www.caans.org.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Alberta’s Pascale Paradis earns bronze in 7.5 km Female Biathlon

Canada Games action carries through to March 2nd

Alberta earns three medals in Long Track Speed Skating

Alberta now has 16 medals (6-5-5) and currently sits in second place of the medal standings

Calgary singer Shaye Zadravec gearing up for City appearance

Talented songstress to open for Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez Feb. 22nd

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

Team Alberta adds nine medals on day two of competition at Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta had a solid day at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

4,400 leased railway cars will move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Most Read