Pubdate: Sat, 05 Jul 2014
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The London Free Press
Author: Randy Richmond
Page: A5


Drug addicts in London have begun getting overdose kits and training
that could save their lives.

A coalition of agencies began handing out personal injection kits and
prescribing anti-overdose drug Naloxone Friday, the latest weapon in a
battle against London's high overdose rate.

"We are all ready to roll out," said Sonja Burke, director of
Counterpoint harm reduction services at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.

The challenge is to get as many users as possible to sign up for the
kits and half-hour training session, and ensure their peers and
families can help, health officials said Friday.

"This is where things get a little tricky," Burke said.

Naloxone can only be prescribed to an eligible drug user. But if that
person goes into an overdose, they won't be able to help themselves.

That means the drug users trained and supplied with Naloxone will have
to ensure their friends and family know what to do, and give them
permission to help, Burke said.

The Middlesex-London health unit began handing out the kits and
training users Friday. The health unit, the HIV/AIDS agency and the
London Intercommunity Health Centre are working together to supply the

Each agency will hand them out on different days of the week, but the
HIV/AIDS agency will provide the main phone to call - (519-434-1601)
for people seeking information, Burke said.

Outreach workers and agencies have known for years that London has a
high rate of injection drug users. Last year alone, 41 people died of
drug overdoses, a death rate double the Ontario average.
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