Opioids Substance Use

St. Paul’s Overdose Awareness Day event a chance to educate and commemorate

A peer support worker displays the contents of a Naloxone kit during last year's event for Overdose Awareness Day.

Saturday, August 31, is International Overdose Awareness Day, a special day set aside each year to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

Today, staff from the St. Paul’s Hospital Urban Health Program – who are on the front lines of the ongoing overdose crisis in BC – showed their support for people with problematic substance use who are at risk of overdose.

The team set up display tables on Burrard Street outside the hospital where they provided information to passersby around substance use and overdoses, as well as resources for people who use substances, their friends and family members.

Visitors had the opportunity to learn how to use a Naloxone kit (Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, methadone, fentanyl and morphine), test their knowledge of Naloxone and overdose at a spin-the-wheel trivia game for a chance to win prizes, and enjoy treats and refreshments.

People were also invited to contribute to a memorial wall as a way to pay tribute to loved ones lost to substance use-related complications.

According to statistics from the BC Coroners Service, there were 538 illicit drug toxicity deaths in the first six months of 2019, down from 763 in the same period last year.

Scroll down to see photos from the event:

Staff from the the St. Paul’s Hospital Urban Health Program provided information and resources.

Registered Nurse Stephanie Callaghan and Peer Navigator Mark Haggerty spin the trivia wheel.

Visitors left messages on a memorial wall to commemorate loved ones lost to overdoses.

Chainz, a Peer Support Worker at the St. Paul’s Overdose Prevention Site, offered Naloxone training.

Sam Gill, Clinical Nurse Leader at the Rapid Access Addiction Clinic at St. Paul’s, was interviewed by CBC News.

Event organizers set up educational displays, like this one about the St. Paul’s Overdose Prevention Site.

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