Overdose Awareness Day being held in Delhi

The Penington Institute of Australia has marked Aug. 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day for the past couple years.Haldimand and Norfolk are taking part this year by hosting the area’s first overdose awareness event at the Delhi Tobacco Museum at Quance Park.From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s harm reduction team will provide information about preventing overdoses as well as distributing free naloxone kits. Naloxone is the go-to antidote of choice when someone is suffering an opioid overdose.The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a life-altering injury due to overdose.An overdose occurs when the body is overwhelmed by exposure to a toxic amount of a substance or a combination of substances. While street drugs often come to mind, an overdose can happen with many different types of substances — from alcohol to prescription drugs — in all segments of the Canadian population.In Haldimand and Norfolk between April of 2017 and December of 2018, there were 13 opioid-related deaths, most of which were caused by fentanyl.The majority of these deaths were accidental and occurred in the individual’s home.Naloxone — a life-saving medication used to temporarily reverse opioid-related overdoses — was only used in 25 per cent of these deaths. That means that most of these deaths could have been prevented if someone had been there to administer the antidote.If you or someone you know uses drugs, whether prescribed or not, remember the 4Cs to safer drug use:* Careful use: Don’t use alone. Go slow and start with small amounts.* Carry naloxone: Pick up a free naloxone kit from any health unit office or participating pharmacy.* Call 911: For every overdose even when naloxone is used. If you are hesitant to call 911, remember that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects bystanders from basic charges such as possession when they alert authorities.* CPR: Push hard, push fast.While it can be scary or upsetting to think about overdosing, the good news is that education and preparation can help prevent it from happening.The Health Unit, in collaboration with many local agencies and community members, formed the Harm Reduction Action Team (HRAT).The goal of HRAT is to raise awareness of opioid-related harms in our communities, discuss emerging issues, host community education events, and promote harm reduction services and resources.Members of HRAT will attend the overdose awareness event in Delhi to provide information about supports and resources in our community to better assist anyone who, themselves, struggles with substances or who may know someone who is. Talking about overdose could save a life.

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