Carefully wielding syringes to inject water into sponges, a group of Christ Church Cathedral (CCC) staff, stewards and parishioners, as well as staff from the Cathedral School and Diocesan office, gathered April April 23 to learn how to give a shot of naloxone to save someone from a drug overdose. To remember the steps, we learned a chilling acronym, SAVEME (Stimulate, Airway, Ventilate, Evaluate, Muscular Injection, and Evaluate) from instructor Kim Toombs, a harm reduction counsellor from AIDS Vancouver Island. “I have been working in the field for 20 years and I have never experienced this level of crisis,” said Toombs, referring to the current opioid addiction situation in BC.
Monday’s session was the first at the Cathedral, and the kits are now available in the church and the Deanery. “It signals an attitudinal shift, a lessening of the stigma,” said Canon Nancy Ford, CCC Deacon to the City. “The word on the street is that people are quite chuffed, surprised and delighted that the Cathedral is doing this.” According to the coroner’s report, people in transition are most at risk of overdosing, says Ford, who would like to explore new support programs that strengthen community relationships.