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With overdoses rising, so are the reason you should access Naloxone...

As of late many cities and towns in Ontario and all across Canada have been seeing an influx of overdose-related deaths. Unfortunately, Halton Hills, and specifically Acton are no exception to this phenomenon. You may ask yourself- why is this happening? Or you may possibly believe that victims of overdose are limited to illegal opiate drug users, this isn't necessarily the case. Not only do we have prescription opiate patients who need these medications to function who are at risk of accidental overdose, but we have recreational drug users who may not know that the product they have purchased contains very strong and deadly opiates such as fentanyl or Carfentanyl. We are seeing a myriad of recreational party drugs containing these substances, unbeknownst to the purchasers or users.

I often hear people say

"Well, people shouldn't be using illegal substances" and while I can understand the thought process behind such statements, after years of working for outreach services in harm reduction and with at-risk populations of people I have seen first hand how the issue is not so cut and dry. We never know the reason behind someone's choices, and although we may not understand them I really feel like that is the perfect reason not to judge. We may never understand because we are all different people and we are all coming from different places and situations in life. The fact is that often the issue of addiction runs deeper than we may ever know. If we constantly approach people negatively we don't give them any reasons to want to change or improve themselves and possibly get well.

We also have the populace of young people to think of. Looking back at my friends and my own younger years I certainly remember the feeling of invincibility. Those bad things couldn't ever happen to us right?!

Young people, these days face peer pressure and the need to fit in and be a part of a group even more-so these days than in the past and when we were that young.

As a teenager, I would dare to say we have all taken risks. Whether it be experimentation or doing dangerous but thrilling things. Jumping off a cliff into water, going places that our parents wouldn't consider safe, heck even running across the highway as opposed to crossing at the lights- there are too many examples to name. Recently a close friends daughter was at a party at a friends house. Someone offered her a line of cocaine to try and though she isn't a drug user, when put on the spot she said yes. She didn't realize that night, that party could have been her last.

The cocaine she was given to try contained some type of opiate drug and she immediately went into an overdose state. Luckily her friends at the party were quick to dial 911. Their quick thinking and actions paired with the Naloxone kit the first responders carry saved her life that night. In that instant, her life, her friend's lives and her family's were changed. It could have ended in tragedy but it didn't.

Naloxone- a lifesaving emergency rescue medication is now available to anyone free of charge.

Naloxone works by coating the receptors that opiate drugs go to in your brain. It can reverse the effects of an overdose very quickly and is easy to administer. The best part about Naloxone is that if someone is not actually overdosing on an opiate it cannot hurt them and doesn't work to get someone high.

You can get a Naloxone kit at any local pharmacy or the local regional health clinics, again free of charge and you will get a quick training session on how to use it. The Acton clinic is located at 372 Queen St East (In the Sobey’s plaza near Royal Bank) and they are open Tuesdays 11am-5pm. Naloxone is available as a walk-in service. You can also visit any local pharmacy, or call the regions needle exchange van at 905-330-3305.

Please if you feel there may be any situation you can use a kit, access one! As a mother of a teenager, I keep one handy, and I take it to all my social gatherings because honestly, you may never know if someone is using. It could make the difference between losing someone or saving a life, and when it comes down to it we all deserve the chance at life.

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