Wednesday, September 1, 2021

International Overdose Awareness Day in Langley

Yesterday at work, I mentioned to people that it was International Overdose Awareness Day at a staff meeting. I said that BC is amid two health emergencies: opioid-related overdoses and COVID-19. Overdoses and overdose deaths, unfortunately, have continued to rise.

Later that morning, during another meeting, a staff member asked me, “Isn’t overdoses a Downtown Eastside issue?” I told the person that overdoses impact all people in BC, no matter their walk of life. I said that the highest risk people in BC are employed, housed, single, young men.

This insight surprised my co-worker. My day job is at a software company where many people fit into the high risk demographic for overdoses.

The conversation I had, shows that there is still a stigma around overdoses.

Vigil at Derek Doubleday Arboretum. Select image to enlarge.

Yesterday evening, Langley Community Overdose Response held a walk, information BBQ, and vigil for International Overdose Awareness Day.

People walking to Douglas Park Spirit Square. Select image to enlarge.

Some people told stories of friends and family who died due to overdoses. While I’m not aware of anyone in my family who died due to overdoses, my dad had substance use problems which resulted in overdoses. As a child growing up, it was traumatizing, but he was able to get help because he had a support system of friends and family to help him.

The more people feel safe talking about substance use problems and not feel judged, the sooner we can reduce the number of overdoses and overdose deaths in our communities.

For more information about overdose prevention, please visit the provincial government’s website.

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