Written by Erin Gibson, Harm Reduction Coordinator

International Overdose Awareness Day

31/08/2015 9:33:47 AM | 0 comments |
International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event to raise awareness of overdose deaths and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. It also looks to acknowledge the grief and suffering felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or who live with permanent injury from drug overdose.  Over 350 deaths occurred in BC last year as a result of illicit drug overdose with over 100 of these occurring in the Fraser region. Overdose can occur in individuals taking prescribed or illicit opioids.

So what is the good news?

The good news is that across Fraser Health, community access to naloxone is increasing through 20 Take Home Naloxone (THN) sites, an initiative launched by BC CDC in 2012.  In an overdose, opioid drugs (i.e. fentanyl, heroin and morphine) can cause breathing to slow or stop, eventually causing brain damage or death. Naloxone (commonly known as Narcan™) is a safe and effective life-saving medication that quickly reverses the effects of opioids on the breathing rate.  Since the program launched, over 4,400 people have been trained across BC in preventing and responding to overdose; 2,983 THN kits have been dispensed to at risk individuals; and 256 overdose reversals have been reported.

Doug Nickerson (photo above) is well known in the Surrey homeless community for always carrying a naloxone kit. When people call his name,  he comes running.  He has reversed 29 overdoses. He says, “It’s an amazing thing to see and be a part of, people who have turned blue, taking that big gasp of air after being injected with naloxone.”

Learn more

Toward the Heart: Harm Reduction Program
Know Your Source: Drug smart tips

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