Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (August 31, 2017) – Today, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is marking one year of the Lifesaver Program. This overdose prevention program was launched last year on August 31, which is International Overdose Awareness day.
Since the program’s launch, 188 Lifesaver kits have been distributed to service users, family members and friends, and 19 kits have been refilled. Over the last year, HPEPH has provided over 600 hours of education on overdose prevention to local community partners.
“Illicit opioids continue to pose a significant risk to our community”, said Dr Piotr Oglaza, HPEPH’s medical resident. “The Lifesaver program is an important part of our ongoing harm reduction efforts at HPEPH.”
The Lifesaver program is a community-based Naloxone distribution program aimed at reducing avoidable deaths from opioid overdose. It is offered to individuals currently taking opioids, or those who have taken opioids in the past. Naloxone is an effective antidote for opioid overdoses, and works by temporarily reversing the effects of opioids in the brain and restoring normal breathing in the unconscious person.
HPEPH’s Lifesaver Program involves training people to recognize the signs of overdose and to use Naloxone to save lives. Participants are provided with a Lifesaver kit that contains all the supplies necessary to administer Naloxone in the event of an overdose. A key component of the program involves ensuring that participants understand the importance of calling 911 as soon as they suspect an opioid overdose, to initiate emergency response and support.
Opioid overdose can slow or stop breathing, slow heart rate and blood pressure, reduce body temperature, and cause the victim to be unresponsive. Affected persons may also experience a seizure or a heart attack. Opioids are found in both illegal and prescription drugs. Examples of opioids include heroin, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and other prescription pain medications.
Dr. Piotr Oglaza
Medical Resident at the Office of the MOH
613-966-5500 x 316