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Regina pharmacist raising overdose awareness

A Regina pharmacist makes a call to action to other healthcare providers to do more to connect with their neighbourhood's most vulnerable people in order to prevent overdoses. File / Global News

To mark International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, a Regina pharmacist is calling on healthcare providers to connect with society’s most vulnerable.

Sarah Kozusko, the owner and pharmacist at Queen City Wellness Pharmacy, says preventing drug overdoses is an everyday goal for her and her staff. Everyday, the Queen City Wellness Pharmacy hands out water and food to those in the community.

Read more: New Saskatchewan overdose numbers show old pattern

Throughout the summer, Kozusko and staff have hosted local community barbeques in the Heritage neighbourhood, provided essential services and needs and help people with day-to-day activities. They also distribute more than 10,000 life-saving Narcan kits — something that has saved many lives.

“My staff NARCANS about two people a week in the park across the street and in alleys down the way and in the back parking lot,” she said. “People know that they can come and get us. We will be there quickly and we will bring NARCAN and we will revive people.”

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Kozusko says it starts before Narcan’ing people; it begins with education and connecting with people.

Read more: Awasiw night staff administer naloxone, save man from drug overdose

“I feel very connected to the community that we are in,” she said. “We do most of our work right out of our doors…we partner with a lot of community-based organizations to do Narcan training and COVID shots.”

She said engaging with the community and building trust is key for people too access the care they need. That is why Kozusko is making a call to action to other healthcare providers to reach out to those within their community.

“If you’re a healthcare professional, connect to the people in the community,” said Kozusko. “Your business is there eight hours a day, they live there twenty-four hours a day. Take care of the people around you. That’s the biggest thing. If we connect with people, we’ll prevent overdoses.”

Click to play video: 'First overdose prevention site in Regina officially opens'
First overdose prevention site in Regina officially opens

The Queen City Wellness Pharmacy recently added a peer mentor to their team. The peer mentor goes around the community to find out what people need whether it’s a snack, a ride to the hospital or a wellness check.

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