Nfld. & Labrador

Choices for Youth taking steps to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths

Choices for Youth is making sure all hands are on deck to tackle the growing fentanyl crisis in St. John's

3 naloxone kits provided by Choices for Youth have saved lives

Sheldon Pollett says Choices for Youth is doing everything they can to make sure staff and volunteers are prepared to help youth in the event of a fentanyl overdose. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

Choices for Youth is making sure all hands are on deck to tackle the growing fentanyl crisis in St. John's

At the organization's annual general meeting on Wednesday, executive director Sheldon Pollett discussed how Choices for Youth is preparing staff and youth by teaching them how to help in the event of an overdose.

The worst thing we can do when a young person walks through in crisis is respond with a crisis of our own.- Sheldon Pollett

All staff members have been educated on how to distribute and use naloxone kits, a decision that Pollett said has already saved lives.

"We have given [out], I think, 17 naloxone kits and we have three that we know have been used in an overdose situation," he said.

"We haven't had any deaths directly in the young people we're working with [but] that's the scary thing about this, every instance is a possibility."

Choices for Youth is making sure naloxone kits are being made available to staff and youth who use the organization's programs. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Plans are also in motion for the organization's Youth Leadership Council to receive full naloxone training, and the Safe Works Access Program (SWAP) will be visiting the centre to distribute kits periodically to youth as well.

"The worst thing we can do when a young person walks through in crisis is respond with a crisis of our own," added Pollett

"Having people trained, prepared, supplied with naloxone kits is a big part of the work right now."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.

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