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Cover Article: Another Chance at Life: Naloxone and Overdose Awareness in Victoria
By Heather Hobbs
Slumped against the curb, the man’s lips a bluish colour. He’s not answering his name; in fact he’s not responding at all. His friend shakes him by the shoulders, looks up with wide eyes; “We gotta call 911!” Outreach Workers dial for the paramedics and reach for their rescuing breathing masks. A woman yells, “Get him in this side!” As the man’s friends position him into the recovery position, an outreach worker asks if anyone has a naloxone kit on them. No one does, but thankfully the sounds of sirens are now audible. The paramedics arrive swiftly, before the team has even positioned themselves to so rescue breathing. One shot of naloxone brings the man around. His girlfriend bursts into tears with relief next to him on the sidewalk. Another chance at life.
This year in Victoria, there have been at least 23 overdose deaths and many more non-fatal overdose incidents. Believed by public health officials to be attributed, in part, to the presence of fentanyl in the heroin supply, these overdose incidents are preventable and tragic.