École Secondaire Notre Dame High School in partnership with Turning Point and the RCMP hosted a public information session on the opioid crisis in Central Alberta on March 26th.
“We’re talking about it preventatively—it’s not at a crisis state at all [in the high schools],” said Sarah Fleck, managing registered nurse at Turning Point.
“As parents we need you to help us, because when we get involved it’s not to solve the problem anymore, it’s to prevent it,” said Const. Sean Morris from the Red Deer RCMP Youth Unit.
The information session reviewed local statistics, real life stories, facts about the forms and effects of the drugs as well as how to prevent overdoses and administer Naloxone kits.
“For me it was 100 per cent square one getting educated, said Rachelle Scrase, a parent who attended the event with her husband and both her teenage children. “It was very educational to hear how easy it is for youth to access it and how scary a drug it is.”
“We have to be on top of our children, it’s not snooping, being overprotective or an invasion of privacy,” he said.
He also emphasized that the fentanyl crisis is unique from that of other drugs because it is not contained to a specific demographic.
“EMS are responding to all postal codes in Red Deer—it’s affecting everybody,” Fleck said. “It’s affecting genders, socio economic backgrounds and professions equally.”
Alberta Health, Opioids and Substances of Misuse, Nov 2017 Report, ranked Red Deer as having the second highest fentanyl fatality rates per 100,000 people, in 2017 in Alberta.
An average of 1.9 Albertans die every day as a result of an opioid overdose.
Turning Point has had 14 fentayl-related deaths in Red Deer reported to them since Jan. 1st.
People are encouraged not use drugs alone and to always have a Naloxone kit because, once fentanyl is in the user’s system, it is extremely difficult to stop its course due to the nature of absorption.
Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose.
Turning Point was giving out Naloxone kits at the session, which are also readily available to the community free of charge at pharmacies and walk-in clincs.
There were approximately 80 people in attendance at the information session.