Fentanyl Pandemic: an Opioid Overdose Crisis
revised June 18, 2021
Too Many Lives Lost!
It is alarming to hear all the daily news reports that ‘Canada is experiencing an overdose crisis caused by a toxic illicit drug supply. Overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic drugs have increased and people are dying from drug overdoses at unprecedented rates.’ (Nowell, 2021)
In Regina, chief Evan Bray of the Regina Police Service (RPS) declared the drug overdose situation a “pandemic within a pandemic” as overdose numbers skyrocket through 2020 and now into 2021. (Eneas, 2020)
In May of 2021, RPS reminded the public in a press release that these individuals “are not strangers; they are someone’s child, spouse, sibling, or parent. We can all play a role in preventing these needless fatal events.”
CMHA Regina Branch wants to help address the urgency of this devastating public health crisis by sharing information, tools, and resources to better equip the public, our neighbours and our community, in responding to this emergency.
In May 2021, a Regina Pilot Project Overdose Prevention Site opened in our city.
– To learn more about The Nēwo Yōtina Friendship Centre and overdose prevention site located on the corner of 11th Avenue and Osler Street in Regina, click here or below to read Jennifer Francis of CBC News’ report, posted: May 26, 2021. “Overdose Prevention Site Opens in Regina.” [And click here for Newo Yotina’s Regina Pilot Overdose Prevention Site Information Guide]
– “With fatal overdoses devastating the city over the past year, advocates hope Regina’s first supervised injection site will help to start to turn things around”. See report by Roberta Bell from Global News Posted May 25, 2021. See article and WATCH:”First overdose prevention site in Regina officially opens” – May 26, 2021
A monthly “Community Bulletin” can be found here: The Good Life Community Network . Their bulletin lists community resources and supports, including contact info for “Counselling and Addictions Help” and local AA and NA meetings.
-The June 2021 issue includes the following report from AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan (APPS) New Program – APSS OPIOID OVERDOSE PREVENTION PROGRAM (AOOPP) “Mental health, Substance use and overdoses, and increased risk of HIV & Sexually Transmitted Blood-Born Infections (STBBIs) overlap for the vulnerable in our communities. APSS has rolled out a new program to prevent Opioid overdoses in Regina in acknowledgement of this reality.
On April 1st, 2021, APSS rolled out a two-year Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) supported APSS Opioid Overdose Prevention Program (AOOPP) to reduce opioid overdose mortality and hospitalizations in Regina. The activities under this program include saturating the at-risk population in Regina with naloxone education and naloxone kits, Opioid overdose risk reduction education, education on the Good Samaritan act, referrals to opioid substitution therapies, recovery programs, and client care to support access to recovery services.
APSS is particularly concerned about the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and substance use.
We hope that more organizations with access to substance users get more involved with substance use overdose prevention.”
www.saskhealthauthority.ca –Click here for Facts about street Fentanyl poster
Information, Tools, and Resources:
Government of Canada
- Overdose prevention resources
- How to talk to a friend or family member about drugs
- Know the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and what to do if you witness one
- Get a naloxone kit
- Get help now
- Provincial and territorial health services
- Programs for First Nations and Inuit
- Additional services and resources
- It can be hard to start a conversation with someone you love about their drug use but it’s important. Drug use can have negative effects on someone’s life. Friends and family are an important support system for someone who is looking for help.
- Signs to look for
- How to talk to someone about drug use
- How to guide someone to get help
- Resources for family members and friends
- General Information About Opioids
- Fact Sheet on Fentanyl [Click here]
- Frequently Asked Questions about Fentanyl [Click here]
- What are the signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose?
- What should I do if I see someone who may have mistakenly taken drugs containing fentanyl or who has taken too much of the drug?
- Preventing Opioid Overdoses – Take Home Naloxone & free training [Click here]
- Good Samaritan Act
- Treatment, Services and Recovery
- Harm Reduction Programs
- Responding to an overdose during the COVID-19 pandemic (from SK.ca/COVID19)
Addiction Services has information at http://www.rqhealth.ca/department/addiction-services/alcohol-and-drug-information
-Links to national evidence-based resources like:
- Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addictions at https://www.ccsa.ca/
- Centre for Addictions and Mental Health at https://www.camh.ca/
B.C Fraser Health Authority has some additional resources on conversations with teens. Fraserhealth.ca see: Health Topics >Mental Health and Substance Use >Overdose, prevention and response site provides information on: (Fraser Health, 2021)
- From Grief to Action’s Coping Kit (under Starting a Conversation)
This toolkit is for parents or caregivers who are dealing with a son or daughter’s substance use. Endorsed by CMHA BC [Click here, for the Content Page for topics covered in this tool kit pdf]
- Resources for talking to youth about substance use various articles [Learn More: “7 Tips for talking to your kids about drugs”]
- Eneas, B. (2020, June 29). The pandemic within a pandemic: Regina’s overdose numbers skyrocket through 2020. Regina, Saskatchewan: CBC. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/pandemic-within-pandemic-regina-overdose-numbers-skyrocket-1.5630542
- Fraser Health. (2021). Start the conversation about overdose prevention. Retrieved from Fraser Health : https://www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/mental-health-and-substance-use/overdose-prevention-and-response/start-the-conversation-about-overdose-prevention
- Nowell, M. (2021). www.catie,ca. Retrieved from Catie: https://www.catie.ca/en/pif/spring-2021/safe-supply-what-it-and-what-happening-canada