Aug. 31st marks International Overdose Awareness Day, a day aimed at raising awareness of overdose and reducing the stigma of a drug-related death.
Turning Point Society of Central Alberta will be putting on an event to coincide with the day at City Hall Park. The event will begin at noon. They will have a tent and table set up, and will be giving out bracelets that say ‘Time to Remember Time to Act’, and will have International Overdose Day with the date on there as well.
“We’re going to have some of our clients who feel open and confident to come share their stories about people they’ve lost or times when they’ve overdosed and what that was like for them,” said Stephanie Pettigrew, registered nurse at Turning Point.
Turning Point will also be distributing naloxone kits, a medication used to block the effects of opioids at the event as well.
Pettigrew said since Turning Point’s project started in July of 2015, they’ve given out 3,608 naloxone kits, with 230 given out in this month alone, along with 60 reversals this month, which means people who were able to be reversed out of their overdose. Two died from their overdose. Turning Point is now up to 701 reversals in total.
“From those numbers you can see that it is a crisis that we’re dealing with right now, and those numbers continue to increase from month to month, so you can see that it is something that’s happening quite rampantly in Red Deer,” she said.
Representatives from Turning Point will be on site to answer any questions people may have, along with doing any teaching on naloxone people may need before they take the kits.
“From what I’ve seen, overdoses do not discriminate. It’s a time to remember and to have understanding, but for the rest of our community, it’s good to be really open and transparent and to help decrease any stigma that’s attached to it too, and to see those people and those faces who have been significantly touched by overdose.”
The event will run Aug. 31st from 12 to 1 p.m. at City Hall Park.