We Can Save Lives: Overdose Prevention Site Demonstration on World AIDS Day

By Julie Schultz, November 29th, 2017 in

Peel HIV/AIDS Network to Host Overdose Prevention Site Demonstration on World AIDS Day

Peel HIV/AIDS Network (PHAN) is hosting We Can Save Lives, an educational overdose prevention site exhibit, on World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2017. The event will help promote constructive dialogue around the benefits of providing emergency first aid in the event of an opioid overdose. It will also offer an opportunity for community members and leaders from across Peel to explore practical, low-cost, evidence-based interventions to reduce the negative impacts of the overdose crisis on people affected in the region, and save lives.

This year Canada is expected to reach 3000 overdose deaths, exceeding the number of deaths at the height of the AIDS crisis. In Ontario, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses has surpassed deaths from motor vehicle accidents. The situation in Peel mirrors the broader Canada-wide trend, and as the number of casualties in the opioid crisis mounts it has become increasingly clear that strategies and action plans must include the evidence-based interventions that are quickly becoming common in other communities.  With We Can Save Lives, PHAN aims to educate local policy makers about the benefits of overdose prevention sites, a practical and inexpensive intervention to reduce the number of overdose-related deaths in Peel region.

 “Overdose Prevention Sites save lives, and don’t forget that life could be anyone’s child. I know this because it was my child,” said Donna May, founder and facilitator of mumsDU.We need overdose prevention sites now!”

As an HIV organization, PHAN has taken a leadership role in addressing the needs of people who use drugs in Peel. Injection drug users represent the second most affected population, proportionately, of Canadians living with HIV. We advocate around issues relating to substance use to push for community-informed policies and health measures that will reduce drug related harms. PHAN supports the delivery of evidence-based interventions in order to reduce the negative impacts of the opioid crisis on community members.

“I’ve lost twelve people since January to accidental overdose,” said Adam Chalcraft, Chair of the Peel Harm Reduction Committee and Harm Reduction Coordinator with Peel HIV/AIDS Network. “If an overdose prevention site had been in place to prevent these overdoses, those members of our community might still be here.”

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