The deadly opioid epidemic that has swept through Metro Vancouver this year was the focus of a Tuesday afternoon workshop at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church.
The church was the site of Take Home Naloxone training for community members.
During the two-hour event, representatives from Fraser Health as well as Langley outreach team members provided information, training, and Naloxone kits to people at risk of opioid overdose, as well as their family and friends.
There’s good reason for concern.
Not counting December, 755 people have died from illicit drug overdoses this year, compared to 443 in the same time period in 2015 — and fentanyl was detected in 374 deaths, or about 60 per cent. This is triple the number from the same time period last year.
“It’s very concerning for sure,” said Alison Nicol, housing and outreach coordinator with Encompass Support Services Society.
Take Home Naloxone was developed to support people who use drugs, to recognize and respond to overdose.
On Tuesday, a total of 14 people went to the church to either learn how to administer Naloxone or to pick up a kit if they, themselves are in need of one, or if they know someone who is at risk of an overdose.
Nicol said learning to use the kits is “quite straightforward.”
“The education session doesn’t take a huge amount of time,” she said. “And people who fit into the category of needing a kit were able to take one with them today, and other people have the opportunity to practise using it and learn the process, what to look for in an overdose and how to respond.”