CDI Calgary South campus providing free naloxone kits and training on Fridays
Nearly 2,000 Albertans have died from accidental opioid overdoses since the beginning of 2016, sparking the province to declare a public health emergency.
As part of the strategy to deal with the overdose crisis, the Ministry of Health has spearheaded several harm-reduction initiatives, including the distribution of naloxone – a drug that can stop an opioid overdose – kits to pharmacies, health centres, and community groups.
Any member of the public can now receive a naloxone kit and training on how to administer it free of charge at CDI College’s Calgary South campus. The training sessions take place every Friday and are part of a three-month trial at the campus.
“It’s something unique to our campus,” says Kathy DuGray, an instructor in the Addictions and Community Services Worker program. “There’s no charge for it. You can walk-in, no appointment, no ID, you don’t even have to give us your real name.”
Unlike past public health emergencies relating to overdose deaths, the opioid crisis is hitting people from every income bracket and lifestyle, rather than being confined to specific high-risk populations or communities.
"We will be serving Okotoks, High River, and the South of Calgary, Black Diamond and Longview," says Rhian Wight, campus director at the Calgary South campus. “A lot of the people coming to this training will be family members of active users.”
In addition to the public health benefits, students from the Addictions and Community Services Worker, Child and Youth Services Worker, and Medical Office Administration programs will also have the option to train in providing naloxone kits to the public.
“Every student will have the opportunity to graduate having taken naloxone training,” DuGray says. “It’s something that all students – especially in child and youth care and addictions – should know how to do.”
“For the community, it means every Friday we are open for friends or family members who may know someone struggling with addictions and want to help administering potentially life-saving drugs.”