Students get close-up look at dangers of fentanyl

By Chad Klassen
November 16, 2016 - 12:17pm Updated: November 16, 2016 - 5:40pm

KAMLOOPS — The fentanyl crisis has hit home in Kamloops. There have been 31 overdose deaths as of the end of October

The Tk'emlups Indian Band has taken notice, and on Tuesday night, in partnership with TRU social work students, the band hosted a fentanyl workshop for students.

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

The kids got a close-up look at how easily someone can overdose. 

"That's a red bead and that's enough to put you into an overdose. That is an overdose," says Charles Campbell from the White Buffalo Health Society.

But it's not clear to detect fentanyl, which mixes right in with the drug. Someone can be ingesting it without even knowing and quickly overdose. 

"The lips will be blue. Shallow deep breathing. Slow, slow heart rate. Non-response to just pushing," notes Campbell. 

The underlying message was prevention. It's what TRU social work students hoped they could conveyed when they organized the fentanyl workshop. 

"It's a hard thing to talk about, and especially because people don't like to think that could happen to them. That could be their kid, that could be their brother, their sister, their friend. It could be them," says TRU social work student Kaitlyn O'Toole. "That's why it means so much to me to talk about it. I think education is the only way we're going to prevent it."

At the workshop, students were shown how to use a naloxone kit if they're in a situation where someone has overdosed. 

"Getting more education about fentanyl and how kids my age are dying because of it. It's very unfortunate for people to be passing away by overdosing on fentanyl," notes one student who attended. 

Among the 622 overdose deaths in B.C., 53% have been due to fentanyl. The hope is Tuesday night's workshop gets through to these kids, so it doesn't happen to them and their family. 

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