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- Haldimand and Norfolk mark International Overdose Awareness Day.
Today, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) is observing International Overdose Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is to create a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.
An overdose occurs when the body is exposed to a toxic dose of a substance or a combination of substances. While it is common to associate overdoses, with illicit drugs, an individual can experience an overdose/toxicity from other substances including alcohol and prescription medications.
The HNHU provides harm reduction programs like distributing naloxone kits and needle exchange to members of the public. Additionally, the HNHU works with various community partners to support members of the public dealing with addiction.
“Overdose touches us all in one way or another. It is important we work together to reduce the stigma surrounding substance use,” said Mayor Amy Martin, Chair of the Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health. “On this day I also want to recognize our health unit staff and first responders for their critical work to help prevent more drug fatalities in our communities.”
So far in 2023, the HNHU has distributed 868 naloxone kits. In that same time, the rates of emergency room visits decreased from 51 in 2022 to 40 in 2023 and opioid-related deaths decreased from 16 in 2022 to seven in 2023. This indicates that the harm associated with opioids can be reduced by increasing education and distribution of naloxone.
The HNHU would like to remind residents of the 4Cs for safer drug use:
Careful use – Do not use alone, go slow, and start with small amounts.
Carry naloxone – Pick up a free naloxone kit from any Health Unit office or participating pharmacy.
Call 911 – For every overdose even when naloxone is used. If you are hesitant to call 911, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act can help provide some protection from certain charges.
CPR – Push hard, push fast
For information on opioids, overdose, and prevention, please visit hnhu.org/health-topic/opioids.