Free naloxone training sessions will be taking place in Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Princeton in early May.
Community paramedics, the RCMP and community nurses will be teaching the public how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and to answer questions.
“Learning to administer naloxone is effective and relatively simple,” said Todd Kunz, a community paramedic in Osoyoos, in a news release.
“Essentially, injecting naloxone reverses the effects of an overdose, which has caused a person’s breathing to slow or stop.”
The sessions will be taking place in:
- Osoyoos on Monday, May 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sonora Community Centre (8505 68 Ave., Osoyoos)
- Keremeos on Tuesday, May 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Victory Hall (427 Crowsnest Hwy, Keremeos)
- Oliver on Thursday, May 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Oliver Senior Centre (5876 Airport St., Oliver)
- Princeton on Saturday, May 11 from 10 to 2 p.m. at the Health Fair, Riverside Community Centre.
The events will also include a short presentation on harm reduction and a personal story by a Moms Stop the Harm representative.
Opioids include both prescription medications such as fentanyl, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, methadone as well as illicit drugs such as heroin.
According to the two organizations behind the training — SOS Division of Family Practice and the SOS Rural Healthcare Community Coalition — the number of overdoses are on the rise in B.C. communities and anyone could come across a neighbour, a co-worker or a friend who needs help.
The number of illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. equates to almost three deaths per day, with the Okanagan being one of the five areas in B.C. with the highest rates of overdose deaths, according to the two organizations.
Participants will receive a free naloxone kit, which are also available free-of-charge at health centres and pharmacies.