Calgary

Most Albertans know there's an opioid crisis but wouldn't recognize overdose: StatsCan

The report released Tuesday by Statistics Canada surveyed Canadians 18 and over and found 84 per cent of Albertans who responded said they are aware of the opioid crisis and would call 911 if they suspected an overdose.

New report reveals less than a third of Albertans could recognize signs of overdose

Elaine Wilson is the co-director of health operations at CUPS, which was one of the first agencies in Calgary to give out naloxone kits. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

As the opioid crisis shows no signs of relenting, a new survey reveals Alberta has one of the highest rates of awareness about the issue in the country.

The report released Tuesday by Statistics Canada surveyed Canadians 18 and over and found 84 per cent of Albertans who responded said they are aware of the opioid crisis and would call 911 if they suspected an overdose.

However, according to Francois Nault, director of health for Statistics Canada, less than a third of Albertans reported they would be able to recognize an overdose.

"I think one of the key results is that so few people would recognize the signs and fewer would be able to act if they were in the presence of an overdose," he said.

Less than 10 per cent of Albertans said they know how to obtain and administer naloxone kits.

According to a new report from Statistics Canada, only 10 per cent of Albertans surveyed said they know how to obtain and administer naloxone kits. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Elaine Wilson, the co-director of health operations at CUPS — one of the first organizations in Calgary to give out the naloxone kits — said they spend a lot of time training clients, family and friends how to spot an overdose and what to do.

"The key things are what to look for: what does an overdose look like? What does an opioid overdose look like? So you know when to administer the kit or the naloxone to someone," she said.

"We talk about the importance of providing rescue breathing to individuals as well as administering the actual naloxone."

Wilson said if all else fails, the best thing to do is call 911.

"Definitely we would encourage people to call for help and to not be afraid of that because in the current crisis that we're in, it's better to be safe than sorry to be sure that person isn't overdosing," she said.

With files from Jennifer Lee

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