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Task force co-chairs release statement on International Overdose Awareness Day

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall and director of police services Clayton Pecknold released a statement early this morning in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, which is today.

Pecknold and Dr. Kendall are co-chairing a new joint task force that will provide advice to the provincial government on how to prevent and respond to the recent rise in fatal drug overdoses, particularly involving fentanyl.

In their statement, the pair announced the launch of the task force’s public awareness campaign. A link to the task force’s website that includes more information about preventing and responding to overdoses can be found here:http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose.

The task force says that work is underway to pilot a testing service to help people find out if their drugs contain adulterants, including fentanyl. Since that service hasn’t been rolled out, Pecknold and Dr. Kendall strongly encourage people taking illicit drugs to learn and recognize the signs of an overdose, and to call 911 at the first sign of distress.

In addition, people who use opioids can receive take-home naloxone kits and training at no charge from locations across the province. Naloxone is a safe medication that saves lives by reversing the effects of an overdose caused by opioids. A list of those locations can be found at www.towardtheheart.com.

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