Council members in North Cowichan will receive training on how to administer naloxone to overdose victims.
The Cowichan Mental Health Association’s Stacy Middlemiss, who is also a councillor in the City of Duncan, will attend North Cowichan’s next council meeting on Aug 21 to do a demonstration and provide training on the benefits and application of naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids during an overdose.
More than 31 people died of overdoses in the Cowichan Valley alone in 2018, and more than 10,000 have died across Canada in the last three years.
The efforts by North Cowichan council members to take the naloxone training comes after the municipality received a “Call for Action” in regards to the ongoing fentanyl crisis that was signed by local leaders from the Sunshine Coast.
The letter states that, despite escalated efforts across the province, B.C. continues to see record numbers of illicit drug-overdose deaths, with many of these deaths resulting from people using drugs alone.
“With four people a day dying of a preventable overdose, B.C. is experiencing the worst public health crisis the province has seen in decades,” the letter said.
“Naloxone is proven to save lives by reviving people who has overdosed to give them enough time to get to the hospital. Naloxone can’t be self administered, so drug users must rely on friends or family to help.”
In January, Town of Gibsons’ Mayor Bill Beamish, Sechelt First Nation Chief Warren Paull, Sunshine Coast Regional District Chairwoman Lori Pratt and District of Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers participated in a media event in which they received naloxone training to raise awareness and help fight the stigmas around drug use and addictions.
The leaders are now sending letters to local governments around the province encouraging them to do the same.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said he thinks the Call to Action is a great initiative and he’s looking forward to taking the training.
“We want to do our part as well to help raise awareness and remove some the stigma around this issue,” he said.
“People should educate themselves about this so they can be prepared to help out if an overdose occurs. Our staff said they would arrange the training and we’re glad to do it.”