News / Edmonton

Naloxone training session an opportunity to help save lives: Organizer

The event takes place Saturday at Hudson's on Whyte from 4 to 6 p.m.

Abby Blackburn is hosting naloxene training events so people know what to do in case of an opioid overdose.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Abby Blackburn is hosting naloxene training events so people know what to do in case of an opioid overdose.

Abby Blackburn knows what it’s like to lose a friend to a preventable overdose.

After her friend died due to a presumed opioid overdose about a month ago, Blackburn felt a renewed obligation to continue holding harm reduction and naloxone kit training sessions to help prevent others from losing loved ones.

The next training session, the third Blackburn has held, takes place Saturday at Hudson’s on Whyte from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Seeing the statistics and seeing how everything is just getting worse and worse, it makes me just never want to stop,” Blackburn said. “This is basically my life’s work now.”

She initially started holding the workshops when a friend overdosed in her presence, an ordeal she describes as “terrifying”.

“I was slapping him because I wanted him to stay awake,” Blackburn said. “But I didn’t know how to stop an overdose or how to use a naloxone kit.”

Blackburn ultimately stayed the night with her friend, who survived. It’s a situation she hopes no one else finds themselves in. But if they do, she wants them to be prepared, whether it’s a friend, loved one or stranger overdosing.

“There could be someone on the street, and someone may have first aid training but they may have no idea how to use a naloxone kit. But they should because sometimes first responders can’t get there right away,” Blackburn said.

The session will include naloxone training from Streetworks, a needle exchange and harm reduction program run by Boyle McCauley Health Centre. There will also be a speaker from Moms Stop The Harm, an opioid awareness group.

One of the topics slated for discussion is how the opioid crisis affects citizens from all segments of society.

“It will and can affect (everyone), regardless if they know somebody directly who’s addicted … It’s not just junkies, it’s doctors and lawyers and those sorts of people who are addicted to opioids as well,” Blackburn said.

The sessions have already saved at least one life – at Blackburn’s last event in January, an attendee said they survived an overdose because of her training.

“It’s humbling but it’s still scary,” Blackburn said. “I have so many people around me that still use on a regular basis, and I never know if they’re (using) alone or with friends.”

The event will also include a take-home naloxone kit for attendees.

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