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Naloxone-kit availability expanded in Howe Sound

More tools to fight overdoses

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A mother’s anguish at her son’s death from an accidental overdose in Whistler in 2014 — and the increasing number of overdose deaths from opioid use — has sparked Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to increase the availability of naloxone kits in the area.

Jennifer Janson, whose son Martin was 19 when he overdosed on sleeping pills and cocaine, urged that one should “never do anything that could risk your family waking up tomorrow without you.”

Janson’s plea — issued with VCH’s announcement Dec. 19 to increase availability of the kits — should help, said VCH Medical Health Officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn.

“The program has become even more relevant now because people are so much more likely to overdose on fentanyl or carfentanyl,” he said.

Naloxone kits are available at community health centres and harm-reduction services.

Lysyshyn said: “Although we see a relatively small number of illicit drug overdoses in the Howe Sound region, It’s important that people who use drugs have access to naloxone.”

From January to Dec. 10 this year, there were 111 overdoses due to illicit or unknown substances in Howe Sound: 60 at the Whistler Health Centre; 32 at Squamish General Hospital; and 19 at Pemberton Health Centre.

Read the full story in the Dec. 22 issue of Pique.

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