Griffin Russell (in plaid) administers naloxone into an orange as part of training for VIHA board members as Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical officer for Island Health, looks on. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Griffin Russell (in plaid) administers naloxone into an orange as part of training for VIHA board members as Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical officer for Island Health, looks on. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Island Health offers naloxone training in Victoria

New board members, media invited to participate

In the face of the sobering statistics released last week by the B.C. Coroner’s Service reporting more than 1,400 people died of a drug overdose last year, Island Health held a naloxone training session today for new board members and the media.

Tracey Thompson, harm reduction co-ordinator for Island Health began the training by recognizing the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking people on whose territory the workshop was held.

“It’s important we recognize that Indigenous communities are impacted by the opioid crisis much more than the dominant culture,” she said.

RELATED: B.C. funds more overdose prevention in Indigenous communities

RELATED: More than 1,400 people in B.C. died of drug overdoses in 2017

Naloxone, a synthetic drug similar to morphine, blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system and can be successful in reversing an opioid overdose.

Thompson pointed to the staggering numbers of people dying alone in their homes and said it’s time to address the stigma associated with drug use. This is beyond a brain illness, she said.

“What I really think we’re talking about is pain, whether emotional pain, or physical pain,” she explained. “Language is critical. How we talk to and how we talk about people is important. The stigma contributes to that isolation.”

Those who participated in the training left with a naloxone kit of their own, with three syringes and three vials in each. To find out where you can access a free naloxone kit, visit TowardTheHeart.com

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com