Have you been affected by the opioid crisis?
In reality, there are few people who have NOT been affected in some way. Friends, family members, neighbours and co-workers, recreational users or those fighting through addiction … all have been impacted by the crisis related to opioid use and addiction.
In 2018, 1,510 people died of drug overdoses in B.C., including 237 on Vancouver Island. Who were those people? 83 per cent of those who died from drug overdoses were men and 76 per cent of were aged 30 to 59.
And by and large, deaths aren’t happening in the street as some might expect – 88 per cent occurred indoors, in people’s homes.
It was with all these facts in mind that Westerly News and Black Press Media wanted to find a meaningful way to respond – to make a difference.
“To be able to share vital information and resources, and to pull back the curtain on this crisis as a way of reducing stigma and encouraging people to come forward and seek the supports and services they need – this is what we have been able to do with our Overdose Prevention Guide,” says Penny Sakamoto, Black Press Group Publisher.
The Overdose Prevention Guide explores the wide-reaching crisis in the local context, offering tangible information and options for those using opioids, in addition to parents, partners and friends who are also affected.
Working with those on the front lines of the crisis, those with lived experience, the guide also shares news of innovative programs and initiatives that are making a difference, from more options for Opioid Agonist Therapy, an effective treatment for opioid addiction, to valuable resources for families.
Made possible with the visionary support of community leaders United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, Vancouver Island University and Edgewood Canada, we also received invaluable support from the teams at Island Health and AVI.
We encourage you to look for the Overdose Prevention Guide at various health and social services locations around Central Vancouver Island, or to view it online at through the e-editions at westerlynews.ca.
We will continue our work in this area and are pleased to have expanded our reach to communities across the Island this year.
Thank you for helping us make a difference.