TRU information session aims to decrease Kamloops fentanyl-related overdose deaths

By Vanessa Ybarra
March 29, 2017 - 5:30pm

KAMLOOPS — With Kamloops seeing the fifth-highest rate of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the province in the first two months of this year, it's clear there's still a long way to go when it comes to fighting the epidemic.

The city's latest information session is scheduled to take place Thursday night at TRU.

The event, titled 'What the Fentanyl?' will feature a variety of medical health workers, as well drug rehabilitation staff and grief counsellors, all focused on spreading awareness about the deadly effects of fentanyl and preventative measures available.

Doctor Mandy Manak is one of half a dozen health care professionals leading TRU's opioid information session.

While similar talks have been held throughout the city, Manak says there' still plenty of confusion when it comes to seeking help.

"One of the issues with addiction medicine is we all work in our own little silos and even health care professionals have difficulty navigating the system," said Dr. Manak, Medical Director of the Interior Chemical Dependency Office. 

According to the B.C Coroners Service, seven people died from a fentanyl-related overdose in Kamloops the first two months of this year.

With 219 deaths in B.C, almost three times the amount from last January and February, health care workers say the best method for fighting the epidemic is awareness.

"I think we all think it's a certain kind of person that becomes addicted to opiods and that's the furthest thing from the truth," said Manak. "It's the recreational cocaine user that's at risk, it's the person who drinks too much. Until two years ago, most parents didn't know what an opioid is. Part of their learning curve is not only knowing what the drug is, but how it works, why people become addicted and why it's so hard to quit."

TRU'S two-hour event, catered toward drug users as well family and friends, will provide free naloxone kits as well information sessions on what fentanyl and carfentanil is and the best services in Kamloops for treating drug addiction. 

"We'll have people talking about what their services are, we'll be handing out naloxone kits and also be providing service handouts for family members and patients."

With the fight against fentanyl far from over,  it's likely Thursday's information session won't be the last in the city. 

"I think think it's going to get a little worse before it gets better," said Manak. "We're hoping that people know there's treatment available. That's the only way to get better. It's knowing where to get help and then getting the help.

TRU's 'What the Fentanyl?' talk takes place Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Barbra Centre in the Brown House of Learning. 

For more information visit the 'Interior Chemical Dependency Office Inc' on Facebook 

Police identify suspicious male