Saturday , May 15 2021

Why your chance to survive overdose may depend on where you live

One day after one of his closest friends died in his bedroom since over-opioids, Brandon Bailey began sharing his cell phone number over social media.

Revolted snake from Windsor, Ont., Has a message for other users: If you use, call me.

"I'll come to you and make sure you're safe," Bailey wrote on Facebook.

Bailey, who is also a member of the Windsor Overdose Prevention Society, said he was frustrated by the lack of preventive overdose services such as safe places to consume in the city and wants to ensure that excessive dose of naloxone is within reach for everyone in danger.

From her post on Facebook in November, she also shared the number of mobile phones on flyers.

"We have to do something," he said.

The overdose crisis has destroyed communities throughout the country and has been attributed to slowing down the prospects of life expectancy, which has risen for three years between 2000 and 2016.

Opioids killed about 9,000 people in the period from January 2016 to June 2018, according to the Canadian Public Health Agency. About 94 percent of these deaths were considered random, and nearly three-quarters of them included powerful opioid fentanyl.

But access to overdose prevention services varies geographically, which encourages some advocates to say that the chances of an overdose survive depend on where you live.

There are eight approved places to consume in British Columbia, nine in Ontario, six in Alberta, four in Quebec, and no one else, according to Health Canada.

Supervised places of consumption allow people to use their medicines under medical supervision, many of which provide for testing for fentanyl contamination and access to sterile equipment.

Naloxone is now available for purchase at pharmacies in every province and territory except Alberta, Yukon and Nunavut, the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association said.

The availability of free, pet-friendly pet sets is more varied, and Quebec offers nose spray to anyone over the age of 14 through a drugstore, New Brunswick, which delivers naloxon to other places such as health and social services, and British Columbia offers free access to people at risk of overdose , those who will probably be witness to the overdose of the first nations.

Jordan Westfall, executive director of the Canadian drug-addiction association, said rural and remote areas were particularly inadequate.

"There are large parts of the country that these services do not have at all," said Westfall. "These are life lines for people who are facing overdoses that are not available to people," Westfall said.

Lack of education and political will were the biggest challenge in preventing death from overdosing, he said. Unlike other data-based healthcare decisions, the issue of licensing services such as monitored spending places is often put in front of the public, he said.

"In many cases, we have put human lives into public debate. This is a kind of metaphor for how we treat the health care of people using drugs, which is stigmatized in society," Westfall said.

He said a reduction in damage could go further ensuring safe drug supplies to users, as so many deaths appear to be related to drug-contaminated fentanyl.

"Everyone else in the country, when drinking a drink of beer, does not have to worry about dying. We must see the same security for everyone in the country using drugs in the streets," he said. He said.

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside was at the center of the overdose crisis in British Columbia, and there are some of the most cost-effective service providers.

Last May, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart announced that he would send staff to search for a place where drug users can get safe opioids to prevent overdose.

Sarah Blyth, the co-founder of the Vancouver Overdose Prevention Society, said that she supervised places for consumption and found shelter every day to save lives.

On the day of the conversation, she said that three people had already been exposed to a nearby safe place of injection, but survived because they were surrounded by people who understood the use of drugs and the prevention of overdose.

But Rebecca Jesseman, Canadian Center for Drugs and Addiction Policy Director, said there are some good reasons for variations in available services: the dominant drug problems also differ geographically.

The opiate crisis is more pronounced in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, she said, while the central provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are more interested in dealing with the methamphetamine problem.

"The reason for the different levels of response is the fact that the problem is different across Canada, so we have to respond in a way that is specific to the local context," she said.

Health Canada states in a statement that the federal government allocates funds based on the severity of the opioid crisis and the size of the population in each province or territory.

Jesseman said that mobile units began providing support to sites without permanent overdose prevention services, she said.

But beyond geographic variations, she said that services often do not meet the needs of the individual, especially regarding language, gender, age, and culture.

"The system often looks at people who need help such as resistance to treatment, instead of looking at what's wrong with the system and how we can meet their needs," Jesseman said.

"We would not accept this variation in the quality of service and availability for healthcare conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, so why is this a norm for substance use?"

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