Executive director Stacey Carmichael says youth are coming to Turning Point for harm reduction supplies like naloxone kits. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer agency working to keep youth safe during opioid crisis

Helping youth make good choices

Opioid deaths among youth is a growing concern for Alberta and locally Turning Point is working with youth to prevent overdose deaths.

Earlier this week Alberta’s child advocate Del Graff reported 12 teens died from overdoses of drugs that include fentanyl and carfentanil and he wants the province to create a youth-specific response to the opioid crisis.

“The more we can talk about this and give them the information they need to make good choices and safe choices, the more likely that those death rates will decline,” said Stacey Carmichael, Turning Point executive director.

Carmichael did not know if any Red Deer youths were among those who died.

She said fear-based models like Scared Straight do not work so people need to be really mindful of where youth are at and try to accept it.

“The reality is that a lot of youth are trying drugs so it’s important that we’re able to respond to them in a way that is going to be meaningful to them to reduce the impact of their drug use as they age.”

The child advocate wants to see schools teaching elementary students about substance abuse.

Carmichael said prevention is the best way to address the opioid crisis and Turning Point staff has already done presentations at middle schools.

She said a Turning Point needs assessment of about 260 drug users about a year ago showed almost 70 per cent of them had tried drugs before age 18. The youngest reported age was six.

The child advocate reported that youth between the ages of 15 and 24 have the fastest-growing rates of emergency department visits and hospitalization due to opioid use.

Carmichael said some youth do come to Turning Point for harm reduction supplies like naloxone kits.

“We try to make sure they’re as safe as possible. We’re doing our best at Turning Point, and other community agencies, to look after the youth. They are very vulnerable and we’re aware of that.”

Red Deer has great youth services, but more program capacity may be needed, she said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move… Continue reading

Red Deer College introduces safety app

Safe RDC provides reliabilty and speed

Alberta farmers await Saskatchewan court decision on carbon tax

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association applaud Saskatchewan government

Halifax fire claims seven Syrian refugee children: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’

HALIFAX — Seven children, all members of a Syrian refugee family, died… Continue reading

Pro-pipeline protest convoy reaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolled up… Continue reading

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

Most Read