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Yukon woman wants your selfies — with a naloxone kit

'If everybody has a kit, or as many people as possible have a kit, then people who really need the kits won't be afraid to go and get trained and get one,' says Angie Charlebois.

Angie Charlebois's 'naloxone kit selfie' contest is meant to encourage people to get a kit, and get trained

Angie Charlebois of Haines Junction, Yukon, started an online contest for people to send selfies posed with a naloxone kit. (Angie Charlebois/Facebook)

Who wants to see your selfies?

Angie Charlebois does — but only if you're posing with a naloxone kit.

The Haines Junction, Yukon, woman came up with the idea for a "naloxone selfie" contest, as a way to encourage people to get a kit, and learn how to use it. 

Charlebois says she was moved to do something when she started to hear more about opioid overdoses in Yukon. The crisis started to hit close to home, she said. 

"I think it's troubling that people are dying from, you know, something like this — which is preventable at this point," she said.

"The selfie contest is basically, like, let's put a face to these kits, let's get as many of them out there, let's have fun if we can while we're learning and talking about this difficult and painful thing."

Charlebois says she's not a drug user, but decided to get trained to use a naloxone kit after a man approached her on the street in Whitehorse asking where he could find a kit. Charlebois had no idea.

A naloxone kit. Naloxone is a drug that can help temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose by allowing the victim to breathe normally and regain consciousness. (Cathy Alex/CBC )

"And then as I walked away, I felt like a little bit responsible for not knowing — because I thought if he's approaching a stranger for a kit, there must be a good reason," she said.

Posting selfies with naloxone kits is a way to overcome stigma, she believes.

"If everybody has a kit, or as many people as possible have a kit, then people who really need the kits won't be afraid to go and get trained and get one."

Kari Johnston's naloxone kit selfie. (Submitted by Kari Johnston)

Kari Johnston, who also lives in Haines Junction, has already shared her own selfie online.

Earlier this year, she lost a nephew in Calgary to addiction and that prompted her to attend a naloxone kit training session hosted in October by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.

"I think a lot of us think ... we don't need a naloxone kit, that's not something that affects my family directly. But this is an addiction that knows no age or race or gender or socioeconomic class," Johnston said.

Charlebois has started a Facebook page for her selfie contest, and she's asking people to post their selfies by Feb. 1. Names will then be entered into a draw for prizes.

With files from Sandi Coleman

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