A Chilliwack agency has been training friends and family members of people struggling with substance use.
Throughout June and July, Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) in Chilliwack is educating those closest to the people who are using opioids by offering up free “friends and family” naloxone training workshops.
“It’s needed. It’s unfortunate that it’s needed, but it’s needed,” said Kim Lloyd, program supervisor with Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre, which is part of PCRS.
On Tuesday (June 22) Lloyd was giving hands-on training to folks by using mock naloxone kits. The training sessions are held outside the centre and run every Tuesday in June and every second Tuesday in July. So far about 40 people have been trained.
“The people who are overdosing are not who you think they are,” Lloyd said. They are the “unseen,” the “hidden population,” they are family men with kids.
“It affects anyone at any time,” she said, adding that opioids have become more dangerous over the years.
“The drugs on the street are toxic. They’re poisonous. They are tainted with all kinds of chemicals,” Lloyd said. “Nothing is pure anymore.”
Those unknown chemicals in the opioids can result in multiple doses of naloxone being needed in an overdose. There are three doses of naloxone in one kit, but Lloyd said it’s “not uncommon” to need four or five, or even 10 doses of naloxone. She recalled one person needing 11 doses.
Lloyd pointed out naloxone is not harmful, and it is safe to administer it to someone who is not overdosing.
“I appreciate having the opportunity to get a kit and learn how to use it and hopefully be a part of the solution,” said Amber Callaghan, who was trained that day. “Awareness and reducing stigma, it’s all so important.”
People can still sign up for PCRS’s “friends and family” naloxone training. To register and for more info, call the Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre at 604-798-1416. The centre, located at 45921 Hocking Ave., also has free naloxone kits and support for substance users, as well as their family and friends.