Community conversation tackles opiate epidemic in Kamloops

By Adam Donnelly
June 23, 2016 - 7:38pm Updated: June 24, 2016 - 5:43pm

KAMLOOPS — Over a hundred people attended a community conversation held in Kamloops Thursday evening, to discuss the issue of opiate use, overdose, and treatment of opiate dependency and addiction. The event was organized by several stakeholders in the community, including ASK Wellness, and featured speakers discussing a variety of topics, including treating overdoses, causes of opiate addictions, and the response to the public health emergency, which the provincial government declared earlier this year.

So far in 2016, 18 people have died of drug overdoses in Kamloops, a huge increase from years previous. Matt McLean, with ASK Wellness, says the meeting is an opportunity to discuss the issue of opiate use and overdose in an open setting, free of judgement.

"More awareness. Certainly, that piece around, if you see someone and you don't know what's going on with them, maybe take the time and check in with them. If it's an overdose, call 911. There was a lot of time today spent talking about that," McLean told CFJC Today. He continued "Really, I think the big piece, and this has been an ongoing thing, is to really do away with the stigma around... substance use addiction. It still seems to be something we're not comfotable talking about, and I think we're getting there, and this [comference] is going help facilitate us getting more comfotable talking about addiction."

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