Turning Point is the recipient of $64,700 from the Province for opioid public awareness.
A new $1.4 million grant program is funding 29 projects to raise awareness of the opioid crisis through video, art, social media, workshops and community events.
The projects will focus on reducing stigma, help people learn where they can find life-saving resources and educate families, friends and neighbours on how they could potentially save a life.
“We’re happy that our proposal was chosen. I think we will be able to make a pretty significant impact throughout the Central Zone,” said Stacey Carmichael, executive director of Turning Point.
The funding will go towards mostly engaging rural communities throughout the Central Zone.
“We’re going to be working with different service providers in a variety of different communities to educate folks on the opioid crisis and provide them with the ‘skinny’ on what’s happening and trying to reduce stigma around addictions.”
She added that they will also be working with a group of folks on the development and design of a marketing and anti-stigma campaign.
She said this is all two-fold.
“There’s the education/town hall kind of component to it and there’s also the campaign part,” said Carmichael.
She added that there’s lots of good stuff happening around the province.
“I expect that we’ll be in touch with some of the other proponents or applicants and see how we can leverage our grants and make it better for everybody. This crisis sucks and if we can increase awareness and prevent any more folks from dying or prevent stigma from allowing people to get the help that they need then that’s excellent.”
Brandy Payne, associate minister of health for the Province said, “Building greater awareness and supporting conversation around substance use is key to breaking down stigma and saving lives. From suburban neighbourhoods to the inner city and from university campuses to the entertainment industry – these projects will help promote understanding and awareness of this public health crisis.”
Supporting the public awareness grants – which was recommended by the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission – is one of many actions being taken by the government of Alberta. The province has distributed more than 49,000 free naloxone kits, and more than 3,300 overdose reversals have been reported. The province is also committing operating funds to six supervised consumption sites and is increasing access to opioid treatment programs.
The province’s latest interim opioid data report shows that 74 people died from an apparent fentanyl poisoning in the first six weeks of 2018. That compares to 119 people who died of an apparent fentanyl poisoning in the last six weeks of 2017. Last year, 589 people in Alberta died of an apparent fentanyl poisoning.
-With files from the Government of Alberta