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Another Chance at Life: Naloxone and Overdose Awareness in Victoria BY HEATHER HOBBS Coordinator, Harm Reduction and Outreach Services
Slumped against the curb, the man’s lips are a bluish purple colour. He’s not answering to his name; in fact, he’s not responding at all. His friend shakes him by the shoulders, looks up with wide eyes: “We gotta call 911!” Outreach workers dial for the paramedics and reach for their rescue breathing masks. A woman yells “Get him on his side!” As the man’s friends position him into the recovery position, an outreach worker asks if anyone has a naloxone kit on them. No one does, but thankfully the sounds of sirens are now audible. The paramedics arrive swiftly, before the team has even positioned themselves to do rescue breathing. One shot of naloxone brings the man around. His girlfriend bursts into tears with relief next to him on the sidewalk. Another chance at life. This year in Victoria, there have been at least 12 overdose deaths and many more non-fatal overdose
Annual General Meeting
Naloxone kits like this one can save lives.
incidents. Believed by public health officials to be attributed, in part, to the presence of fentanyl in the heroin supply, these overdose incidents are preventable and tragic. As health care and social service providers at AVI, we practice harm reduction strategies to reduce the risk of injury and death associated with licit and illicit drug use and advocate for increased access to services that help to prevent fatalities
October 24th from Noon to 1pm
in the communities we serve. Last year, the BC Centre for Disease Control initiated a project to make naloxone, an opioid antagonist, more widely available to people who use drugs. Naloxone works to reverse the respiratory depression that occurs when someone is overdosing on opioids (such as heroin, morphine, dilaudid, (Continued on page 4)
IN THIS ISSUE:
PROFILE: NEW MEN’S WELLNESS COORDINATOR
LIFE AS A YOUTH OUTREACH WORKER
LOOKING BACK: THE SUMMER IN REVIEW
3rd Floor, Access Health Centre – 713 Johnson Street
Featuring: Stories from Street College Leaders & Graduates Click or call to RSVP: 250 384 2366
THE LOOP NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED BY EDITOR: ERIC BERNDT CONTRIBUTORS: HEATHER HOBBS, SAVANNAH MACKENZIE, SAMUEL SALVATI, ZAK ZAWADUK, ERIC BERNDT WWW.AVI.ORG
Looking Ahead: Events & Important Dates Don’t Just Stand there: Walk with Us! Join AVI in Nanaimo on September 22nd for the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life to raise money in support of our programs and services in the Central Island. We will live music, food and plenty of fun.
Registration starts at 11am and the Walk begins at Noon in Maffeo Sutton Park. For more information visit our Facebook Page or call Stephanie. SAVE THE DATE: October 24th 12:00pm We will be hosting our Annual General Meeting at our offices in Victoria over the lunch hour. Call 250 384 2366 to become a member before the 24th! WORLD AIDS DAY is DECEMBER 1st Each year AVI hosts a number of events commemorating AIDS Awareness Week (November 23rd to November 30th) and World AIDS Day (December 1st). Stay tuned to our website www.avi. org, `Like` on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter for more details as they become available.
Introducing Samuel Salvati, New Men’s Wellness Programs Coordinator Samuel is both humbled and excited to be representing AIDS Vancouver Island as the new Men’s Wellness Coordinator. He is a vibrant and passionate advocate for LGBTQ community development and health promotion, with experience working to develop resources for rural queer populations in the mid and north Vancouver Island regions. Samuel has an educational background in Anthropology and Sociology, with specializations in Gender and Sexuality studies. His passions include Trans* advocacy, youth organization, and LGBTQ healthcare equity. Samuel is looking forward to working with all members of the organization to engage and support queer, gay, Bi, Trans*, Two-Spirit and MSM communities on Vancouver Island.
Samuel Salvati, Men’s Wellness Coordinator
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First Person Perspective: Life as a Youth Outreach Worker BY SAVANNAH MCKENZIE Youth Outreach Worker
My name is Savannah McKenzie; I have been working for AIDS Vancouver Island in Courtenay and Campbell River for 7 months. Being a youth outreach worker for AVI has been an amazing multi-faceted job. I get to work with the best team of co-workers I could possibly imagine and the youth that I get to meet provide me with inspiration and learning opportunities on a daily basis. For part of my job I meet with two youth groups, who we call The Love Shack, one in Campbell River and one in Courtenay. The youth that are part of these groups have been trained to be peer educators. We meet weekly, where I either teach new material, review, or we plan for new events or projects. One group developed and administered a safer sex and partying survey to ask their school mates what they knew, and what they want to change about sex education in schools. I also get to travel to different schools in our communities giving Safer Partying workshops to classes. It is a great workshop that lets the students talk about partying in a safe space and gives them the opportunity to analyze the pros and cons of partying together. Myself,
and our Love Shack team go to many events in our communities throughout the year. I recently was in Campbell River to do presentations on the Homalco First Nations reserve. In July we were invited to Community Connections day on the K’omoks First Nations reserve, a great day show casing some of the great organizations in our community.
Coming up next month we will be going to an Aboriginal HIV Sexual Health Youth Camp in Strathcona. Presentations are one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. Every group brings unique and amazing things to the discussions and often I am learning from the youth as much as they are learning from me.
Program In Focus: Youth At Risk BY ZAK ZAWADUK Youth Outreach Worker
Working with Youth in Custody Since taking over youth programming at AVI, I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to engaging with youth in custody. We know that youth in custody also experience problematic substance use and mental health issues. We also know that rates of HIV and HCV Fall 2013
amongst people in custody are disproportionately high within the prison system. For the past 8 months, I’ve held workshops at the Victoria Custody Centre once per week. The sessions are a mix of presentations, group activities, games, and storysharing that focuses on safety and preventing harm. We discuss topics that are central to the residents’ lives, such as how to engage in safer sex,
safer partying, and safer substance use. They enjoy being able to talk about more taboo topics that youth are often forbidden from discussing in a formal educational setting. As youth are released and return to their communities’, many go on to serve as mentors for their own peer groups, providing information around sex, substance use, and preventing infection.
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Naloxone and Overdose Awareness in Victoria, Continued (Continued from page 1) methadone). It has been used in emergency settings for over 40 years in Canada and the BC ambulance service administered naloxone 2367 times in 2011. There are also many TakeHome Naloxone programs around the world, including over 180 in the US and a number of programs here in Canada. These programs work to increase the availability of naloxone to individuals who are at risk for opioid overdose. Through AIDS Vancouver Island’s Courtenay and Victoria offices, we are now participating in the province-wide Take-Home Naloxone program and has begun offering overdose prevention and response training, including the distribution of naloxone kits. At a recent training session at the Victoria office, one woman
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The recovery position is for when someone is unconscious/ not responding.
participated in overdose response training only a week after a family member died on the street of an overdose. Concerned that the
training would be too much, too soon, I reassured her that there would be more opportunities for training to come, and that perhaps she should wait until some time had passed. “No, I want to do it now,” she told me. “I don’t want anyone else to die out there and I want to know what to do.” Humbled by her strength, we dedicated the workshop to her loved one and her presence brought a richness to our group discussion that was honest and powerful. This woman’s story is remarkable and also not entirely unique. Amongst people who use illicit drugs, particularly those who are marginalized by poverty and homelessness, I have been privileged to witness an incredible sense of empathy and caring for one another that is often too rare in ‘mainstream’ society. Increasing and supporting opportunities for people who use drugs to gather together, share information, and gain access to practical, life-saving tools and information is one of the key ways that service providers can support the capacities and personal autonomy of people to make decisions, maintain health and wellness, and take leadership in our communities.
Looking Back AVI does Pride 2013
Overdose Awareness Day On August 31st International Overdose Awareness Day provided another opportunity for our community to talk about how to better address the risks associated with an illicit drug market and the stigma that we still attach to drug use and addiction. Making naloxone more widely available and teaching people about how to prevent overdose is an important piece of a much larger puzzle.
Getting our banner ready before the parade!
We had a blast this year with Vancouver Island PWA Society & VARCS (Victoria AIDS Resources & Community Service Society) marching in the parade and being part of such a vibrant community! Visit our Facebook page to see how we strut our stuff for one of Victoria`s most exciting days of the year. Who Cares about Hep C? Across Vancouver Island, AVI held events at the end of July marking World Hepatitis Day alongside public officials, volunteers, clients and community partners in Victoria, Campbell River and Courtenay. The focus of each event was about knowing your status and getting tested for hep C. AVI also created a video called “Who Cares About Hep C” which further explored the importance of getting tested.
From left to right: World Hepatitis Day events in Campbell River, Victoria and Courtenay.
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Have you dined at these amazing and generous Dining Out For Life 2013 restaurants? Campbell River • Fusilli Grill • Royal Coachman Inn • Salmon Point Restaurant & Pub • Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland • Atlas Café • Avenue Bistro • The Breakwater Restaurant • Mad Chef Cafe • Martine’s Bistro • Union Street Grill & Grotto • Zocalo Cafe • Duncan/ Mill Bay • Amusé on the Vineyard • Genoa Bay Café • Ladysmith • Page Point Bistro • Nanaimo • ACMe Food Co • Extraordinary Organics Restaurant • Firehouse Grill • Gina’s Mexican Café • Hilltop Bistro • Lighthouse Bistro • Longwood Brew Pub & Restaurant • Real Food • Red Rhino • Smokin’ George’s BBQ • The Nest Bistro • Thirsty Camel Cafe • Tina’s Diner • Parksville/Qualicum • Bistro 694 • Lefty’s Fresh Food • Lefty’s Too • Salt Spring Island • Tree House Cafe • Sidney • Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa - Haro’s Restaurant • Sooke • 17 Mile Pub • Tofino • Shelter Restaurant • The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn • Victoria • Apple Cafe at Ingredients Health Food • The Black Olive • Bon Rouge Bistro & Boulangerie • Brasserie L’ecole • Brickyard Pizza • Cabin 12 • Café Brio • Cafe Mexico • Camille’s Fine Westcoast Dining • Canoe Brewpub, Restaurant & Marina • Catalano Restaurant and Chiccheti Bar • Cenote Lounge • Chez Michel • The Clay Pigeon • Crooked Goose Bistro • De Dutch Pannekoek House • Devour • The Empress Room • Felicita’s Campus Pub • Ferris’ Grill • Ferris’ Oyster Bar • Fire & Water Fish and Chop House • Heron Rock Bistro • Il Terrazzo Ristorante • The Joint Pizzeria and Deli • The Keg Steakhouse at the Winery • The Keg Steakhouse on the Harbour • The Ledge in the Bedford Regency Hotel • Logan’s Pub • Lure Restaurant and Lounge • The Mint Restaurant • The Mint for Lunch • Mo:Lé Restaurant • The Noodle Box - Douglas • The Noodle Box - Fisgard • The Noodle Box - Langford • The Noodle Box - Uptown • Noodle Cart • Pescatores Seafood & Grill • The O Bistro • The Oyster Bar at Pescatores • Pizzeria Prima Strada Restaurant • The Reef Restaurant • Skinnytato Polish Restaurant • Sticky Wicket Pub & Restaurant • The Superior • The Tapa Bar • The Tea House at Abkhazi Gardens • Tre Fantastico • ulla restaurant • Vista 18 • Yates Street Taphouse and Grill
! e t a d e Save th The 9th Annual 6 THE LOOP
Dining is Thursday, Out For April 24th 2014 Life Fall 2013