Nfld. & Labrador

Naloxone on Wheels training program launches in St. John's

A needle exchange program in St. John's is trying to prevent drug deaths by making naloxone training more accessible.

'Trainers will come to you,' SWAP harm reduction worker says

The Safe Works Access Program (SWAP) launched a mobile Naloxone training unit on Wednesday. (CBC News)

A needle exchange program in St. John's is trying to prevent drug deaths by making naloxone training more accessible. 

The recent spike in opioid overdoses on the northeast Avalon have some people eager to get training on how to use naloxone — an antidote kit that reverses the drug's effects.

The mobile training unit was launched on Wednesday by the Safe Works Access Program (SWAP). Manager Tree Walsh says the Naloxone on Wheels, or NOW, program will make it easier to access to the life-saving drug. 

SWAP manager Tree Walsh says Naloxone on Wheels training will run every Wednesday evening. (Ted Dillon/CBC News)

"Trainers will come to you. It takes about 15 minutes to get trained and then you'll receive your naloxone kit, right there in the van," Walsh said.

"All you have to do is call SWAP and we'll book an appointment."

SWAP held pop-up Naloxone training sessions at the Virginia Park Community Centre and Choices for Youth on Wednesday afternoon to kick off the program.

SWAP trains people using naloxone kits such as this one. An injection of naloxone can prevent death due to a heroin, morphine or fentanyl overdose. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The NOW van will run every Wednesday evening, Walsh said, and will meet people who want to be trained wherever they are in the city.

More kits to arrive

SWAP delivers safe injection supplies and picks up used equipment on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, but Walsh said that doesn't leave enough time for training.

"On those nights it's really too busy to take the time to spend 20 minutes with each person, so we decided on Wednesdays to just give out naloxone in the evenings."

Up to six people can be booked for NOW training each Wednesday.

Of the 400 antidote kits SWAP was given in December, Walsh said the group is nearing the end of its supply and waiting for more.

"We're down to the end of it now, but we do have others that have arrived," Walsh said.

"I understand from Eastern Health the bulk of the new kits are due to arrive very shortly."

How to use naloxone in case of an overdose

5 years ago
Duration 4:27
Karen Singleton of Eastern Health walks through how to use a naloxone kit, in the wake of more than a dozen overdoses on the northeast Avalon


Avneet Dhillon is a multi-platform journalist with CBC News based in Toronto.


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