Calgary

Calgary councillor hands out naloxone kits to colleagues, demos how to save a life

A Calgary city councillor who is also a registered nurse handed out 30 naloxone kits to her colleagues in the council chamber during Monday's meeting.

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart is also a registered nurse

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart handed out 30 naloxone kits to city councillors and administration during Monday's meeting. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

A Calgary city councillor who is also a registered nurse handed out 30 naloxone kits to her colleagues in the council chamber during Monday's meeting.

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said it's important for people to have access to the kits, which can be used to help reverse an opioid overdose and keep people alive while they get treatment. 

She said while methamphetamine use has increased in Calgary, the opioid crisis hasn't gone away.

"Any citizen can administer naloxone to someone that has an opioid overdose. You can easily tell because they slowly stop breathing and they're unresponsive, whereas [with] methamphetamines, they're wired," she said.

Last year was the first year police made more than 1,000 seizures of meth, which was a 20 per cent jump from the previous year.

And the opioid crisis is still hitting the city hard, with 271 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Calgary between January and November 2018.

Last week, the city's only supervised consumption site was renewed to operate for one more year. The site has had more than 54,000 client visits since it opened.

Colley-Urquhart said while there are resources like the supervised consumption site where people using drugs can get help, regular citizens have a role to play too.

"Everyday citizens can help us and help the community. It's just not the safe consumption site where we can save people … anything we can do as a community, citizen-wide, is in our best interest to do," she said.

Alberta Health Services has made the kits available at pharmacies and walk-in clinics for free for anyone who wants one, without ID or a prescription needed.

With files from Scott Dippel

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