Northern Health Extends Hours of Needle Exchange
Prince George, B.C. – Northern Health is extending the hours of the Needle exchange in Prince George in an effort to reduce the number of overdoses in the City.
There have been 24 overdose cases in the City in the past three weekends, fortunately no one died. While the number of cases has shown a decline, dropping from a high of 12 to 4, the number is still much higher than the usual 1 to 2 cases Northern Health typically sees in the course of a week.
The Needle Exchange will be open seven days a week to provide a place where people can be safe, and can be treated immediately should they overdose . “Overdose levels remain high in our region, and immediate action can save lives,” says Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Sandra Allison. “We’re expanding the hours we’ll be open with staff present to support people who are looking for a safe place to keep warm, and also for staff to be able to respond quickly if an overdose occurs.”
The safety message remains the same to those who use illicit drugs:
• Don’t use alone; have a naloxone kit handy and ensure the people with you know how to use it
• Start with a small amount
• Mixing substances, including alcohol, increases risk of overdose
• Use where help is easily available (e.g., around other people)
• Use less. If you took a break, were in detox/treatment or jail, or are new to use, your tolerance is lower
• If you have ever experienced an overdose, be aware that you are more likely to overdose again
• Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose
All emergency response personnel in Prince George have been trained on the use of Naloxone which can save lives of those overdosing. NH is currently distributing and providing training on the use of take-home Naloxone kits for vulnerable populations and their close contacts. More information on where to find a Naloxone kit is available at www.towardtheheart.com