Jan 12, 2016


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Bow Valley College Delivers Presentation on Fentanyl Crisis in Calgary

Alberta Health Services Doctor will discuss opioids, risk of overdose, and harm reduction policies

CALGARY - Dr. Nicholas Etches, Medical Officer of Health at Alberta Health Services, will deliver a presentation about the Fentanyl crisis in Calgary and available harm reduction strategies, at Bow Valley College on January 13, 2016.

Calgary has seen a dramatic increase in overdoses, poisonings and deaths due to street drug use of illegally manufactured Non-Pharmaceutical Fentanyl (NPF) and other opioids. As of the middle of November 2015, Alberta had 213 fentanyl related deaths.

NPF is considerably more toxic than other opioids and even in small quantities it can be very dangerous. In fact, two grains of Fentanyl (equivalent to two grains of salt) is enough to kill a person. Another problem with Fentanyl is that it is cut into street drugs by drug dealers. Drug users may not realize that the drug(s) they consume could be traced with Fentanyl, which increases their risk of overdose, and can lead to loss of consciousness, and potentially death.

"Alberta Health Services has a harm reduction policy that is an important component in the continuum of care required to effectively serve individuals that use psychoactive drugs," said Dr. Etches. Part of that harm reduction policy includes Naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of a Fentanyl overdose so long as it is given right away.  

Dr. Etches will discuss:

  • Opiods, and Fentanyl in particular.
  • Fentanyl related deaths in Alberta.
  • What the street version of Fentanyl looks like.
  • Fentanyl's effect on the body and mind.
  • The dangers associated with Fentanyl.
  • Signs and symptoms of Fentanyl overdose.
  • Naloxone and other harm reduction strategies.
  • What a Naloxone take home kit looks like.  

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When: Wednesday, January 13; 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Where: Bow Valley College, North Campus, Room N124 (lecture theatre)

Bow Valley College - Calgary and region's only Comprehensive Community College - with more than 15,000 full- and part-time students, is a leader in business and health career training, adult upgrading, and English Language Learning. BVC's Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES), workplace training for immigrant professionals and employment services provide a wide range of services for businesses and professionals. 

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