‘They’re learning how to save a life’: Free naloxone kit training session held in Halifax

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A free training session that could help save the life of somebody who has overdosed was held in Halifax Saturday morning.

The HaliFIX Overdose Prevention Society hosted the training session at Common Good Solutions on Cunard Street in Halifax’s north end.

Matthew Bonn, president of the society, says their goal is to get as many naloxone kits as possible into the hands of business owners, community organizations and residents in the north end.

“We have community residents, other community-based organizations, some business owners from other organizations — we’ve had a little bit of everybody here today,” Bonn said.

“They’re learning how to save a life.”
Matthew Bonn, president of the HaliFIX Overdose Prevention Society, hoolds up one of the society’s T-shirts at a naloxone training session in Halifax on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Graeme Benjamin/Global News

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The society had 20 kits available to distribute to participants. Each kit has two doses of naloxone.

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Pharmacist Laura Miller, who is also a board of directors member for HaliFIX, was on hand to educate participants on how to use the kits, as well as signs to look out for when someone is overdosing on an opioid.

“You can’t really do any harm by giving naloxone. That’s the biggest thing I want people to take away,” says Miller. “You do more harm by not.”

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This was the first naloxone kit educational session of its kind. Bonn hopes the increased interest and attention the kits have been receiving will allow HaliFIX to hold similar sessions in the future on a more regular basis.

“By at least getting the naloxone kits in the hands of business owners, if someone does overdose in their bathroom, they have the tool to reverse it,” said Bonn.

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The training session is confidential, so participants aren’t required to explain their reasoning for why they want to learn more about or access the kits.

“In general, the conversations that we’ve had are just people that are going to events where people may be using substances, or have witnessed overdoses before and have felt helpless and don’t want to feel that way anymore,” said Miller.

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The society has been fighting to bring an overdose prevention site (OPS) to Halifax over the past few months, with opioid-related overdose deaths now being identified as a public health crisis by the federal government.

The current proposal would see the OPS open inside Direction 180, a community-based methadone clinic that’s already established in the neighbourhood. Bonn hopes to have an OPS up and running in Halifax by at least the end of the summer.

HaliFIX’s next step is to take the naloxone kits to the local businesses that have expressed interest.

With files from Alexa MacLean.

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