August 27 to 31 has been proclaimed Overdose Awareness Week in Fort St. John.
The Fort St. John Community Action Team and Healthy FSJ will be holding an event each day of the week to raise awareness of and address the opioid addiction problems in Fort St. John. A candlelight vigil will be held on Aug. 30 in memory of those who have died from a drug overdose in the community, and to give space and voice to those with lived experiences.
"It is a challenge in our community just like many others across B.C. and Canada," says Julianne Kucheran, a Community Action Team member.
As of June 30, 2018, there were 45 overdose deaths in Northern B.C., 12 of them in the Northeast. Of those 12 deaths, fentanyl was detected in 11 of them.
The Community Action Team recently received $100,000 from the province to carry out its work, which includes expanding harm reduction, increase the availability of life-saving naloxone, tackling an unsafe drug supply, and identifying people at risk and connecting them with support services and treatment.
"The importance of this project for all of us is that we open the dialogue and start having those really honest conversations because it's about time they were had in our community," said Community Action Team member Amanda Trotter.
"Not only that, we want the community to own this project. We want the community to be involved and we want the community to come up with some long range plans as to how we can better assist people dealing with addicitons within our community."
The team will hold a panel event Oct. 18 at the Lido to share findings of its work in the community.
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