By Treena Mielke
Tricia Peden and Keira VanderVliet, speakers from Turning Point, harm reduction agents from Red Deer, gave informative and serious presentations about drugs, focusing on fentility and opioid crises.
The presentation was held at Rimbey United Church, following a poverty banquet sponsored by Rimbey Chapter of Amnesty International at Sun. November 18 and around 25 people attended.
VanderVliet, who claims to use drugs extensively before making choices to change his life and help others, said drug use affects families and society.
"Of course, it's in your backyard."
Fentanyl, a drug that became popular in the 90s for use in palliative care, is now inexpensive, available and a hundred times stronger than morphine or heroin, the presenter said.
They noted that only one fentanyl needed to get a high user and two grains could be enough to cause an overdose.
Signs of overdose include slow, erratic breath, limp body, pale and moist skin and blue nails, lips and tongue. Choking or gurgling, vomiting and not being responsive to painful stimuli are other signs.
Anyone who comes to someone who might suffer from an overdose should call 911, stay calm, give breathing assistance and give Naloxone if available, the presenter said.
Don't throw the person into cold water, they warn.
The Naloxone kit, which is free and can quickly reverse the effects of overdose from opioids such as fentanyl, is available to those present.
People use substances for a number of reasons. This may include feeling good, out of boredom, as a means of self-medication, and / or to escape family and mental health problems.
In accordance with the philosophy of Turning Points to help those who have drug-related problems, and including those who do not have a place to live, drop off boxes for gently used gloves, heavy socks, scarves and coats have been prepared in the Rimbey Library and Neighborhood Places. These items will be supplied to Turning Point and will be distributed to people on the road by workers in harm reduction institutions.