St. John Ambulance has announced it is partnering with Health Canada to help reduce opioid-related deaths across the country.
The new programs are aimed at providing more people with Naloxone kits, increasing the survival rate of someone overdosing.
Spokesperson Kevin McGowan said these programs are desperately needed right now.
“Obviously, the crisis has been coming in waves, and just increasing and get worse and worse over the last five or ten years,” said McGowan. “This is an absolute critical time for us to have a project like this, and help Canada recognize that, and ask St. John Ambulance to attack pretty quickly.”
The main focus of the program is providing training to “underserved communities”, where opioid use is statistically higher.
McGowan said while there are multiple factors to the rise in opioid use, the pandemic has played a huge role.
“I think the stress and strain of the pandemic, and how it’s affected lots of people. If you were already kind of living on the fringe, or were already struggling, the pandemic has really heightened that stress, and heightened that strain,” said McGowan. “So, it’s an opportune time to really jump on this problem.”
People wishing to receive Naloxone training can sign up here.