CMHA’s naloxone toolkit can help fight opioid overdoses in Sault Ste. Marie

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An easy-to-understand resource available from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) can help organizations and individuals in the Sault Ste. Marie identify the signs of an opioid-overdose and help them to deliver potentially life-saving naloxone.

The availability of the CMHA resource, called Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization, is timely given the recent Vice Canada and CTV W5 documentary about opioid addiction in this community.

Steel Town Down: Overdose Crisis in The Soo aired this past Saturday on CTV and livestreamed on Twitter.

The resource – created by CMHA Ontario and made available through the network of CMHA branches across the province – is useful for any organization or individual that wants to learn more about how to use naloxone during an opioid-related emergency at home, at work or at play.

The toolkit is even more effective when it accompanies hands-on training provided from pharmacies or public health units that distribute naloxone.

Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization provides:

·                     An overview of the current situation in Ontario related to opioids, naloxone, and opioid related emergencies, including definitions and facts.

·                     Explanations of symptoms and who may be at-risk of an opioid overdose.

·                     Information about where to get naloxone and instructions about how to use it.

·                     Information about caring for an individual after they receive naloxone.

·                     Information about supporting employees in the aftermath of an opioid emergency.

·                     Considerations about implementing a naloxone-delivery policy, including myth-busting information about naloxone administration.

“The impact of opioid overdose is felt across the province and it should come as no surprise that the issue is just as real in Sault Ste. Marie as it in other communities”, said CMHA Sault Ste. Marie’s Executive Director, Annette Katajamaki.

She says the CMHA resource may help.

“You don’t need to be a clinician to understand this resource. It’s created to give regular people and organizations basic information about using naloxone and how to respond to opioid overdoses,” Katajamaki said. “Given the impact of fatal overdoses we believe naloxone should be as widely available as possible, and this toolkit will help.”

The CMHA resource has caught the eye of Algoma Public Health, which is also educating the community about opioid overdoses and helping more community agencies take on the lifesaving work of distributing naloxone to clients.

“CMHA’s Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization has been useful for our organization. We have incorporated key protocols, forms and infographics from the document as part of the information package we share with community agencies who are interested in distributing naloxone,” said Dr. Jennifer Loo, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “We are pleased to work with CMHA to help put knowledge to action and together with our partners, improve health in our community.”

Ontario’s health minister also supports the CMHA resource.

“I thank the Canadian Mental Health Association for this important resource, which will help communities across Ontario respond to this urgent crisis,” said Ontario’s minister of health Eric Hoskins. “The devastating impact of the opioid crisis has reached every community across the province and our government is committed to using every tool possible to reverse this heartbreaking trend.”

Fast Facts:

•              In Ontario, 865 people died due to opioid-related causes in 2016.

•              In Ontario, someone dies of an opioid overdose every 10 hours.

•              To find out where you can get a naloxone kit, visit Ontario.ca/OpiodOverdose

•              Visit www.ontario.cmha.ca for a free copy of Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization

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