Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada will be provided with a free supply of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Red Deer Boys and Girls Clubs provided with opioid overdose-reversing drug

A partnership will provide Boys and Girls Clubs across the county, including Red Deer, with a free supply of an opioid overdose-reversing nasal spray.

“It’s important … for our community to be aware of how they can help prevent overdoses,” said Jacquie Boyd, executive director of Youth HQ, which operates the Boys and Girls Clubs of Red Deer and District.

“Opioid overdose is not restricted to any demographic whatsoever. It can happen regardless of age, ethnicity or economic status. It’s important all citizens recognize this crisis that we’re in.”

The nasal spray will be available at 700 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada. That includes after-school programs, youth hubs, emergency shelters, group homes and high schools.

The partnership will provide four kits, with two applications per kit, to each club across Canada, said Boyd.

Jeff Dyer, CEO of the group’s Calgary chapter, said three youths involved with the clubs in Calgary died in the past year after taking drugs laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid.

“We don’t have a handle on the opioid crisis in our country, so this is one way to tackle it in the interim,” Dyer said of the partnership.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says that youth aged 15 to 24 experienced a 53 per cent increase in opioid poisonings between 2013 and 2017, making them one of the fastest growing groups.

Dyer said many of the young people his organization serves are particularly vulnerable, because they are often dealing with homelessness and trauma.

The Boys and Girls Clubs have a three-year partnership with Adapt Pharma Canada, which makes Narcan, or nalaxone hydrochloride.

Adapt Pharma’s general manager said the partnership is significant.

“It means we’re able to reach even more young people in our communities and ensure that the resources and information they need are readily available to them,” said David Renwick in a release.

“The goal is to get as much naloxone in the community as possible.”

–With files from The Canadian Press

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