The Wellness Centre took to Student Street to spread awareness for opioid harm reduction with trivia games and pop-up Naloxone training for all TRU community members. The pop-up coincided with National Addictions Awareness Week.
Chelsea Corsi and her Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT) represent the Wellness Centre as they offered an accessible resource for students regarding harm reduction, encouraging students to educate themselves to not only protect themselves but also their friends and community.
“We’re trying to reduce barriers and increase access for students to get a kit,” Corsi said.
Corsi found that students and TRU community members were more likely to partake in pop-up workshops on campus because of the ease of conversations.
“It’s easy. They see it, they come. They’re kind of reminded that maybe this is something that I need,” she said.
Students were invited to try their hands at some drug-related trivia including common myths associated with the legalization of cannabis.
ASK Wellness Society was also on hand to provide information on overdose prevention in the community.
While the Wellness Centre offers Naloxone training year-round, pop-ups like the one on Student Street allow students an easier and less intimidating opportunity for awareness and education. Students who stopped by and partook in the pop-up received the speedy training to carry and administer Naloxone in the case of an emergency.
Corsi spread the idea that even if you don’t think you’re in danger of an opioid overdose, there is still a risk that someone that you care for may be at risk. By having the knowledge and equipment, you are able to reduce the harm significantly.
“What we’re trying to do is reduce the stigma. When I talk, I talk as if anyone I’m talking to can be a substance user because we don’t know. I’ve had some people say to me ‘I don’t need this kit because no one I know uses drugs’,” Corsi said, “I say that’s a myth because we don’t know people’s situations and we don’t know what they’re using. They might be using once in a blue moon but they just so happen to use something that is tainted. I think everyone in our community should have access to a kit because you never know.”
Administering Naloxone, also called Narcan, is an easy process and relatively harmless to administer.
If you or someone you know suspects that someone may be overdosing on an opioid there are five steps to follow. The SWAT was there to instruct students through the five steps, demonstrating along the way.
If you or someone you know is interested in taking steps to be Naloxone trained, visit the Wellness Centre in Old Main and talk with one of the SWAT members. The training is easy and takes about 15 minutes, in those short minutes you can learn to reduce the harm in your social groups.
“It’s 10 minutes, you can save a life and you get to walk away with a Naloxone kit to take with you,” Corsi said.