Castor & District and Coronation & District FCSSs invited Turning Point from Red Deer to speak on the current trends in drugs.
Jen McCrindel, Kevin Cunningham and Tricia Peden were the presenters for the evening.
Jen and Kevin are the outreach workers that provide services and supports throughout Central Alberta. Jen is in the eastern area from Red Deer to the Saskatchewan border and Kevin is the western representative from Red Deer out to Rocky Mountain House.
Tricia is the nurse that works with the people needing services in Red Deer and does educational presentations.
There is a lot of misinformation out in the public and that produces fear, hatred and resistance for necessary supports in our communities for people involved with drug use.
In 2016, there was an overdose crisis. In 2018, the ministerial ordered overdose prevention and safe injection sites. Red Deer had the highest number of opioid deaths and now it is the lowest. There are over 160 visits per day to the safe injection site, an ATCO building.
Unfortunately there are no washroom facilities in the area and this becomes a serious problem that needs to be addressed. It is hard to imagine being ill or just needing the facilities and not able to find any. The research shows that $1 spent in harm reduction is equal to saving $5 in health services.
Turning Point offers the following services: harm reduction, women’s program, rural outreach, health promotion, overdose prevention and Night Reach
Night Reach is a mobile outreach initiative that operates in Red Deer’s downtown, city parks and river valley areas. A team of two walk the streets and paths 365 evenings a year with backpacks full of harm reduction materials, seasonal clothing, first aid supplies and the occasional food donation.
The Night Reach Program provides non-judgmental support and referrals for food, housing, health care, addictions, pregnancy, legal issues, employment, bad dates and counselling to many street involved individuals. Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZZFVtzHCNQ&t=7s.
Naloxone is available for people to have on hand to protect friends and people they may come across experiencing an opioid overdose.
It is a simple procedure as we got to experience preparing a needle to give to someone overdosing. The kit has three doses in it as well as gloves and protection to administer resuscitation.
The doses can be administered easily into the thigh or the arm where a person would get a vaccination. It is only for people overdosing on an opioid drug but if administered and that is not the issue there are no negative reactions.
Within the Good Samaritan act, if you assist someone by administering the Naloxone you will not be held liable if something goes wrong.
There is a lot of misinformation about Fentanyl so make sure you know what is true or not by checking out https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/controlled-illegal-drugs/fentanyl/exposure.html.
The Castor & District FCSS has kits in the office and they are available for anyone wanting some.
They can freeze or be in a hot vehicle and it does not affect the Naloxone.
If frozen, hold in your hand till it defrosts in a couple of minutes.
We truly appreciate the small group of people that attended the presentation. If anyone wants more information they can contact Turning Point at 4611- 50th Ave. in Red Deer, call 403-346-8858 or call toll free 1-877-346-8858.
Mandy at Castor & District FCSS is a drop-off for any donations like deodorant, conditioner (trial size), toques, razors, combs, ziploc bags (any size), feminine hygiene products, long underwear, gloves/mitts, hair elastic bands/ties, plastic or canvas grocery bags, boots, warm socks, shampoo (trial size), toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, Kleenex (individual packages), chapstick, and packaged snacks.