Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2017
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Alex Sherstobitoff


B.C.'s medical health officer declared a public health emergency on
April 14, 2016 in response to high numbers of drug overdoses and
deaths. Overdoses continue to rise and have so far more than doubled
this year.

On August 30, ANKORS (AIDS Network, Outreach and Support Society) and
a group of peers with lived experience R.E.D.U.N. (Rural Empowered
Drug Users Network) are organizing a booth to promote awareness
regarding drug overdose. This is in recognition of International
Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.

 From 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on August 30 an information and resources
booth will be set up in the amenities area of the 400 block of Baker
Street (beside the Wednesday Market) We will be available for
questions and to have discussions or provide information.

People who use drugs are experiencing an incredible amount of stigma
that in many cases make it difficult to access health care. Addictions
are a human condition. We need to approach this issue as a community.

Opioids have been used for centuries to alleviate physical pain and in
many cases used illicitly to curb mental pain. A high level of
prescribing opioids for the last 25 years has left a huge impact on
communities. The past year a federal initiative to curb prescribing
opioids for muscular skeletal pain is being implemented in the form of
prescription monitoring. It appears that prescription monitoring is a
double edged sword.

Many people who have been prescribed opioids for years are now being
weaned off. We are seeing a lack of understanding and resources for
people who are caught in the web of addiction. Opioids may not always
be the best answer but people still continue to seek them out for both
physical and mental pain, licit and illicit. We've underestimated the
impact of present policy and the use of opioids have on our community.

In 2016 we lost 967 people in B.C. to overdose. From January 2017, to
the end of June we have lost 780. We lose approximately four people a
day. These numbers are deaths and do not include people who have
survived an overdose. Most of us who live in B.C. are affected by this
crisis either through our own struggle, through someone close to us,
or through those we work with.

Please visit our information table on August 30 and find out more
about this crisis, learn how to recognize an overdose and how to
respond appropriately.

Alex Sherstobitoff

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