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UBC Okanagan to host free naloxone training program on Monday

Ariel Smith, a second-year medical student at UBC Okanagan, recently launched Okanagan naloxone training and provides free workshops on how to deal with an opioid overdose. UBC Okanagan

A free naloxone training program will take place at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on Monday.

Hosting the program will be a second-year medical student at UBCO, Ariel Smith, who offers free naloxone training sessions.

The workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 25 at UBCO, room RHS260, in the Reichwald Health Sciences Centre.

READ MORE: At-home naloxone kits have reversed over 50K opioid overdoses in B.C.: health authority

Smith said she’s seen first-hand the impacts of the opioid crisis in the Okanagan, having volunteered as part of a naloxone training team with an outreach program.

“There is still a large stigma associated with opioids and naloxone training,” said Smith. “In our workshops, we create a safe learning environment for people to ask questions, learn to recognize the signs of an overdose and practice with real equipment.”

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The outreach program, Helping Out People Exploited, supports homeless and exploited women in Kelowna and Vernon, and is 100 per cent donation funded.

Smith said for a year and a half, she visited homeless shelters and trained people on how to use naloxone kits to help prevent opioid overdoses.

“Through conversations with family and friends, I recognized a huge knowledge gap still existed in our community,” said Smith, adding naloxone training can save a life.

“Especially considering the majority of opioid overdose deaths in B.C. happen to people living inside a private residence.”

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According to a B.C. Centre for Disease Control report earlier this month, 50,000 overdoses in the province have been reversed since 2012 because of naloxone kits.

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Those who partake in Monday’s program will receive training, a certificate of completion and a free naloxone kit. To register, email: hello@oknaloxone.ca. For more information, visit oknaloxone.ca.

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