Sooke to hold community forum on overdose prevention

AIDS Vancouver Island will host a a free community overdose prevention and naloxone training forum next week in Sooke.

Health officials, educators and first-responders will meet with the goal of helping community members understand the opioid overdose epidemic and the lethal impacts of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

“Some of the smaller communities may think they are not being impacted by the overdose crisis. That’s not the case.” said Hermione Jefferis, AIDS Vancouver Island’s manager of health promotion and community development.

“It (fentanyl) seems to be turning up everywhere and in every drug.”

The forum will consist of presentations on drug overdoses and fentanyl with officials from AIDS Vancouver Island, Island Health and other agencies, including local doctors.

Jefferis said they’ll be handing out pamphlets and providing information, including advice for speaking with youth about drugs, how to respond to an overdose, fentanyl facts and information on where to find the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, followed by an open question-and-answer period.

The forum, which is open to the public, will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 at Sooke Community Hall, beginning at 6 p.m.

Tracey Thompson, regional harm reduction coordinator for Island Health, will also be on-site to lead a naloxone training session.

”We want people to be as well informed and prepared as possible should they encounter a situation where they do know someone is experiencing an overdose,” Jefferis said.

According to current statistics, fentanyl has been the cause of about two-thirds of overdoses in B.C., being detected alongside heroin, methadone and codeine as well as cocaine, ecstasy and meth-amphetamines.

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