Nurses Sue Griffin (left) and Tanja Tomlinson are holding a free naloxone kit seminar this Sunday. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack nurses aim to reduce number of opioid overdose deaths with naloxone kit seminars

The free naloxone kit seminar is set for this this Sunday

In the midst of B.C.’s opioid crisis, two Chilliwack nurses are doing their part to get naloxone kits in the hands of anyone who wants them.

“It’s important to get this information out, it really is,” says Sue Griffin, registered nurse at Sto:lo Health Services (SHS). “I have 200 [kits] in my office and they need to get out there.”

She, along with licensed practical nurse, Tanja Tomlinson, is hosting a one-hour free naloxone kit seminar this Sunday which is open to everyone.

The topic is close to both of their hearts. Tomlinson’s father died of an opioid overdose and Griffin encounters the concern on a regular basis through her job as nursing supervisor of community health and home care at Sto:lo Health Services.

The one-hour workshop includes how to spot someone who’s overdosed, what steps to take if someone’s not breathing, hands-on instructions on how to use a naloxone kit, and feedback from the participants.

They use saline instead of naloxone, and oranges as the “muscle tissue” in order to administer the solution. People will practise breaking open glass vials of saline, filling syringes, and then inserting the needles into the oranges.

Sometimes it takes several tries to get it right without spilling the liquid. Some people might not feel comfortable practising in front of strangers and would prefer to do it at home. The nurses will be handing out additional syringes and vials of saline to take home for those reasons.

“This is what we want is for people to actually play with the pieces because then they do feel a little more confident,” she adds.

Regardless of whether you’re able to administer naloxone or not, it’s more necessary to open up the person’s airway and breathe for them until paramedics arrive.

“This is actually more important than the naloxone itself. If you fumble the naloxone, if it can’t get injected or if it get spilled, it’s more important to open up the airway and continue to breathe for them once every five seconds,” says Griffin. “You can still continue to provide oxygen to the brain.”

One dose of naloxone typically lasts 20 to 90 minutes. It replaces the opioid in the body by clasping onto the receptors stronger than the opioid does, but only for a period of time and then the naloxone disintegrates into the body.

Each kit has three syringes, three vials of naloxone, a pair of latex gloves, airway breathing apparatus and alcohol swabs. The drug is heat-, cold-, and light-sensitive, so it cannot be kept in a vehicle.

Sunday’s naloxone kit seminar is at 1 p.m. at Chilliwack Meeting Space (202-45778 Gaetz St.). It is open to 14 people. To register, email

READ MORE: Decriminalizing drugs the next steps in fighting B.C.’s opioid crisis, doctor says

READ MORE: Agassiz opioid meeting: ‘We have a problem in every town’

If someone wants a naloxone kit, but does not want to take part in the training workshop, Griffin and Tomlinson are happy to help. They’re willing to come to people’s place of work or their home. You can email for more.

“There’s no stigma for not doing the training. We don’t want people to feel that I’m going to pry,” she says.

“I don’t want people to think that they have to have the training because it tells you right here what you have to do,” she says pointing to an instructional sticker on the inside of the kit.

As long as the kits are being distributed and people are learning how to use them, that’s what matters most to Griffin and Tomlinson.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Each naloxone kit has three syringes, three vials of naloxone, a pair of latex gloves, airway breathing apparatus and alcohol swabs. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs take out shorthanded Trail Smoke Eaters in Sunday BCHL battle

Tommy Lyons and Kyle Penney scored two goals apiece as the Chiefs won their third straight game.

Cowboy Christmas brings classic Dickens tale with a cowboy twist to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Ebenezer Scrooge meets the Wild West in a Christmas Carol story like no other on Dec. 19 in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Rotary Christmas Parade rolls through downtown Chilliwack

Thousands of kids and adults gathered Saturday night for Chilliwack’s annual Christmas Parade

VIDEO: Christmas Gifts Expo on now at Chilliwack Heritage Park

The annual festive expo features 260 local artisans and small mom-and-pop businesses

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Most Read