Strathmore recognized Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31 by hosting an overdose training workshop at the library, as well as a vigil in Kinsmen Park to acknowledge and remember those who lost their lives due to overdose.
Catherine Walsh, community and social development manager with the Town of Strathmore, said Naloxone training in the library was to teach the public how to give an injection if they encounter someone undergoing an overdose.
The training explained what an overdose looks like and how to administer medical aid to potentially save the person’s life, before emergency services can arrive and take over.
“I think that the more people that are trained to administer (Naloxone), the more lives that we can save from overdoses,” said Walsh. “To access the kits in Alberta, most pharmacies have them, but what I would encourage people to do is look at the Alberta Health Services (AHS) website and it will give you a list of all the pharmacies in Alberta that carry the kits.”
Once a Naloxone kit is obtained, it is important to speak to the distributing pharmacist about how to properly administer it.
Regarding the training at the library, there were 10 people who attended, and there were just shy of two-dozen people who appeared for the vigil in the park.
The Naloxone training session was offered last year as well, to which Walsh said more people came out this year — a sign of concern and growing interest to help within the community.
“It’s a conversation and a topic that we should talk about more and it’s important that we remember on Aug. 31, without stigma, the people who have died and acknowledge the family and friends who are left behind,” said Walsh, who explained on average in 2021, 21 lives were lost in Canada per day as a result of unintentional overdose.
Walsh added that compassion and a lack of harsh judgement is critical to addressing and properly treating the ongoing problem with unintentional overdosing.
“I think it’s just being aware and educating ourselves on what an overdose looks like, and just having that knowledge and be able to recognize it so if someone is having an overdose and you’re the person there, you’re able to help them,” said Walsh. “As time goes on and the more we talk about it, the more people feel comfortable and less of a stigma is attached to it to come out and talk about it.”
Walsh said she recommends keeping a Naloxone kit as part of any standard first aid kit to stock around the house or on your person as a precaution.
In addition to the Naloxone training and the vigil, a purple chair had been placed outside the Strathmore Municipal Office, joining many others like it across the country to call attention for those who have lost their lives to overdose.
The chairs also served to indicate how many have lost their lives, as well as how many have been impacted and left behind.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times