Overdose Prevention Program Pilot Begins in Peterborough

Written by admin, August 30, 2013

August 30, 2013 – International Overdose Awareness Day is Saturday, August 31

Overdose Prevention Program Pilot Begins in Peterborough

This Saturday, August 31, is a day known around the globe as International Overdose Awareness Day established to commemorate loved ones lost due to overdoses on alcohol and other drugs.

Wearing silver on August 31 honours the thousands of lives lost to preventable overdoses, while also acknowledging and supporting the mourning process of those friends and family members left behind.

“Anyone can fall victim to an overdose; young or old, first-time or long-time users, those using as prescribed or those experimenting,” said Deanna VandenBroek, Health Promoter with the Substance Misuse Prevention Program at Peterborough Public Health. “Accidental overdose is the third leading cause of unintentional death in Ontario – a figure comparable to traffic fatalities.”

Each year in Peterborough City, County and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, an average of 17 people lose their life due to overdoses on alcohol and other drugs. The most recent data (2011) shows that a quarter of overdose deaths in Peterborough City and County were due specifically to opioids (pain relievers), such as heroin, fentanyl and OxyContin.

A group of partner organizations involved with the Peterborough Drug Strategy have been working together to develop and implement an overdose prevention program in Peterborough over the last two years.  A pilot program began in July 2013 which involves providing information and training sessions on how to avoid an overdose and also how to respond to an overdose emergency. More specifically, the training covers recognizing an overdose, calling 911, basic CPR, the rescue position and how to administer Naloxone.  Naloxone is an antidote drug that temporarily reverses the effects of an overdose, mainly respiratory depression, putting a person into withdrawal until an ambulance can arrive.  For the first time in our community (as of August 20, 2013), Naloxone is being provided to those at risk of overdosing on opioids. Such efforts to provide overdose prevention training and Naloxone have been shown to save lives.

More information on overdose awareness and prevention can be found at www.overdoseday.com or www.peterboroughdrugstrategy.ca.

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For further information, please contact:

Deanna VandenBroek,
Health Promoter, Substance Misuse Prevention Program
Ph: 705-743-1000 Ext: 223