Pubdate: Thu, 03 Aug 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Yolande Cole
Page: A15


Alberta Health Services encourages those at risk of overdose to carry

Attendees at the Chasing Summer music festival will not be allowed to
carry naloxone kits on festival grounds, organizers of the event said

"Given our on-site medical resources and commitment to the health and
welfare of all our fans, we want to ensure that only trained medical
professionals administer medications to third parties, so we do not
permit guests to carry private naloxone kits within festival grounds,"
said Colin Mathie, director of health and safety for Chasing Summer,
which takes place Saturday and Sunday at Max Bell Centre grounds.

"If a fan brings a kit with them, they will be able to store it in the
medical facility on-site and collect it again when they leave the festival."

The festival has a stated "zero tolerance" policy for drug use, but
Alberta Health Services encourages anyone at risk of overdose,
including people attending events who are thinking about using drugs,
to carry a naloxone kit.

Dr. Joanna Oda, a medical officer of health, said the health authority
has reached out to organizers of festivals and events to advise them
to have contingency plans in place for all emergencies.

The health authority has also shared recommended steps including:
distributing information and health promotional materials; providing
safe, shaded spaces away from the crowd; and ensuring first aid staff
know how to recognize an overdose and respond.

Oda noted while people can overdose anywhere, things that typically
take place at festivals can increase the risk, including being
dehydrated, overheated and the combination of drugs with other
substances such as alcohol. The medical officer said it's important
for users to remember that drugs purchased on the street could be
laced with toxic opioids like fentanyl.

"You don't really know what you're getting, so you might think you're
getting cocaine or methamphetamines, and that might be contaminated
with fentanyl," she said.

At least year's Chasing Summer festival, 10 people were taken to
hospital suffering adverse effects from drugs or alcohol.

At the 2015 event, 17 people were hospitalized.

Festival organizers say medical resources on-site this weekend will
include a physician, three medical supervisors, one medical
dispatcher, a triage nurse, two onsite ambulances and two medical carts.

Free water distribution points will also be available throughout the
festival site, and volunteers will be looking out for anyone who might
need help.

Chief Roger Chaffin said Calgary police work closely with organizers
and security teams at events like Chasing Summer.

"The unfortunate part is that the consumption of those drugs is very
silent," he told reporters.

"It's not like you're just going to see it happen, so it's identifying
people at risk, getting paramedics in there when people are at risk
and managing that."
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