Bar and restaurant workers in Peterborough got a different kind of first aid training Tuesday morning – how to administer Naloxone, the medication used to block the effects of opioids.
Watt was one of about 20 people attending the training session at the Peterborough Public Health Unit.
The two-hour session, led by Peterborough AIDS Resource Network‘s (PARN) Harm Reduction Coordinator Chris Jardin, included a demonstration on how to administer the nasal spray version of Naloxone.
He said there’s a reason why PARN reached out to this particular sector.
“The combination of opioids and alcohol can really increase the danger exponentially,” he said. “One-in-five overdose deaths related to opiates in Ontario involved alcohol in some way, shape or form.”
According to PARN, Peterborough Police responded to 170 overdose calls, which resulted in 19 deaths.
Jardin said he wanted to make sure Tuesday’s course wasn’t just about Naloxone. His two-hour presentation also included a crash course on empathy and countering the negative stigma surrounding addiction.
“If we ever hope to tackle this opioid crisis in any sustainable and holistic way, that first and foremost begins with us addressing the stigma that we all participate in, purposefully or not,” he said.
As for Watt, she said she hopes staff at her bar never have to use a Naloxone kit. But if it happens, she said, they need to be ready.
Naloxone kits can be picked up from community groups like PARN or at certain pharmacies.