Victoria’s carpenters are the first participants in an initiative that aims to reduce the disproportionately high number of drug overdose deaths in British Columbia’s construction industry.
The BC Construction Industry Rehab Plan (BCCIRP) provides naloxone kits to members of the Victoria Chapter of the Carpenters’ Regional Council BC and Yukon. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioid overdoses while they are happening.
The BCCIRP initiative is called A Kit in Every Hand.
Mike Motiuk, a union representative from Local 1598 at the Regional Council of Carpenters, is pleased that he and his colleagues in Victoria have been chosen to pilot the program. He says the seven-year toxic drug crisis in British Columbia has hit union members hard.
“I know it affected about 15 of our members,” Motiuk said on CBC. On the island. Two of those people, he added, were personal friends and colleagues.
On the island7:03Victoria Carpenters Union offers naloxone kits to construction workers as toxic drug crisis persists
Motiuk says one of the reasons construction workers are disproportionately affected by opioids is that they suffer a lot due to the physical nature of their work.
“Opioids themselves are a painkiller – that’s how they’re designed, or that’s what they do,” he said. “But the use of unregulated opioids can be extremely dangerous. So by offering these emergency kits, we can save lives. We can then solve the problems of people who use [opioids]and we can start to normalize this conversation to start finding real solutions on how we can solve this problem all together.”
Construction workers account for 1 in 5 opioid deaths: executive director
Vicky Waldron, executive director of BCCIRP – the organization behind A Kit in Every Hand – says about 20% of people who have died of opioid overdoses in British Columbia in the past seven years have been construction workers . Waldron bases this figure on statistics from the British Columbia Coroners Service.
Since British Columbia declared a public health emergency on April 14, 2016, due to rising drug overdoses, more than 11,000 British Columbians have lost their lives to toxic illicit drugs. These drugs include fentanyl, a powerful opioid that commonly appears on the street supply. Fentanyl has no smell or taste, and just a few grains can be deadly.
Prescription opioids have also contributed to the drug crisis, according to a federal government fact sheet.
“I hope others will follow our example”
A statement released by the Regional Council of Carpenters says the Victoria branch was chosen to pilot A Kit in Every Hand because of the desire shown by these union members to make a difference.
“There’s a lot of stigma around it,” said union representative Matt Carlow, who was instrumental in setting up and running the scheme in Victoria. “But people are dying alone in their homes. Naloxone saves lives, and this union watches over its members. It’s a real way to stop deaths. I hope others will follow our example.”
Kits are easy to use
Since March 8, Motiuk says the Victoria office has distributed 15 to 20 naloxone kits and, with the help of BCCIRP, is offering members free training, which takes about 10 minutes.
“The kits themselves are very easy to use,” Motiuk said.
“We educate [our members]. We give them the training and put a kit in their hands… so that each of our members has the potential to save a life. »
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