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Canadian citizens have been losing family members, friends, colleagues, and fellow Canadians to the ongoing opioid crisis (CBC Radio, 2017).
A guest on As It Happens, Jolene Greyeyes, said that she has lost over 100 friends due to the crisis (CBC Radio, 2017). Greyeyes is a former addict and harm reduction worker. She may have lost more more with five more people dying in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Schmunk, 2017). All within the span of nine hours.
Greyeyes said, “And if I don’t, I know other people that most likely will know them…It’s just a never-ending cycle.” Of the five victims to the crisis in Abbotsford, there were two women and three men.
“It’s another five families impacted by this crisis happening in our city,” Greyeyes said. They ranged in age from 40 to 67; each dying alone. Police are working to find out if the contribution to the deaths was from carfentanil or fentanyl.
The toxicological tests have yet to come back. Between the first and the eighth month of 2017, 1,013 Canadian citizens died from illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia alone, which is according to the British Columbia Coroners Service (CBC News, 2017). It is 91 more deaths than in 2016.
Greyeyes spoke to the need for further education on overdose signs as well as naloxone training. “They have to know the signs of an overdose and they have to have naloxone training and naloxone kits on hand and [know] not to use alone.” she said, “Nobody’s safe out there anymore.”
“We need to really educate the public, even if they don’t think that addiction is something they need to know about, because it’s happening in communities right across British Columbia and it’s not just isolated to people who are homeless or living on the streets. It’s people from all walks of life who are being impacted.”
She iterated that she, personally, would never give up on someone that struggles with an addiction in her own community because she was an addict and knows the pain that these people go through, especially hose losing a loved one.
CBC News. (2017, October 12). B.C. overdose deaths now surpass 2016 total, coroner says. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-overdose-deaths-now-surpass-2016-total-coroner-says-1.4351608.
CBC Radio. (2017, October 30). After 5 overdose deaths in 9 hours, B.C. harm-reduction worker says ‘nobody’s safe’. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.4378456/after-5-overdose-deaths-in-9-hours-b-c-harm-reduction-worker-says-nobody-s-safe-1.4378464.
Schmunk, R. (2017, October 28). 5 people die of overdoses in Abbotsford within 9 hours on Friday. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/five-overdose-deaths-nine-hours-abbotsford-1.4377068.