The Fraser Health Authority is encouraging anyone interested in learning about how to treat and prevent overdoses to attend its upcoming workshop in North Delta.
The free drop-in event, set for the evening of Nov. 4 at the North Delta Recreation Centre, is part of the health authority’s strategy to combat the rash of opioid overdoses and deaths in the region, including 51 in Delta.
Dr. Arlene King, medical health officer at Fraser Health, said Fraser Health had already seen 195 illicit drug overdoses by the end of September.
“That compares to 204 last year and the year’s not done yet,” King said.“Like everywhere else in British Columbia and everywhere else in North America, there is an opioid overdose problem in Delta.”
Attendees can familiarize themselves with the anti-overdose “miracle drug” naloxone, including where to find take-home kits and how to administer it, learn how to provide life-saving measures without medication or simply find out more about the different narcotics affecting the community.
While high-profile drugs like heroin and fentanyl top the list of opioids ravaging the streets, King said doctor-prescribed medications such as oxycodone are also part of the same family of drugs, and the session could help save the life of someone taking an opioid for a legitimate reason like managing chronic pain.
Training sessions are just one part of Fraser Health’s strategy; reducing the number of opioid prescriptions given by doctors is another important factor in lowering the number of overdoses, according to King,“because they are highly addictive drugs if not used properly.”
That element of the response is being conducted with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BritishColumbia,as the regulatory body has the teeth to ensure medical practitioners are doing their part to keep the number of prescriptions as low as possible.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the workshop will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Take home naloxone kits will be available only for individuals at risk for overdose as per the BCCDC policy.
A second workshop will be held in South Delta at a date and location to be determined.