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Officials warn of recent spike in number of opioid-related EMS responses

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Officials with Northreach Society say an influx of EMS responses to opioid-related calls over the last week is a good reminder for all residents to know the signs of an overdose, potential overdose, and how to help those who may need it.

Community-Based Health Program Manager Lindsay Loset says with the increase in calls from October 18th to 24th, came an increase in needing to administer naloxone or see patients transported to the hospital as a result. Loset says they’ll continue to work with people across the community to try and bring the discussion about overdoses into the public eye.

“Decrease stigma, normalize that this is happening, just so that more people would be more comfortable with reaching out,” she adds.

Loset says that conversation can be difficult for many, and believes a fear of judgment stops several people living with addictions to make their struggles known. She says being more aware of the problems facing many in the community can go a long way in creating a healthier dialogue.

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“Especially if you’re talking to a friend and the way they talk about substance abuse in a negative way, and you’re the friend that is actually struggling, they’re not going to reach out to you,” she says. “Just creating more momentum for that conversation to be positive and to create safer spaces to reach out in.”

According to the provincial data, 30 people in Grande Prairie have died as a result of accidental opioid overdoses in the community since the start of 2021.

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