In honour of International Overdose Awareness Day held on August 31st, the Turning Point Society of Central Alberta held an event to remember those lost to overdose. The purpose of the event was not to fundraise but rather inform the public about the impacts of overdose.

“I think there’s a stigma against naloxone or at least against overdose. That impacts everybody’s ability to respond. I think people assume that if we don’t talk about overdose that it’s not going affect us directly but it does happen and it does happen within our friend group,” said Mitchell Danser, Communications and Engagement Coordinator for Turning Point.

Turning Point offers a variety of programs including harm reduction, overdose preventions, and others.  

“Each person that we encounter has their own unique experience. We understand that and try to reach people through a capacity of different programs and services tailored to meet their specific needs,” added Danser.

He believes people may not understand just how common overdose can be.

“You could say that people that are on drugs are more so susceptible to getting an overdose… I would say it could be someone who’s never tried drugs before, someone who was over prescribed something over the counter and then they ended up taking too much of it, or something to that extent. There really could a lot of different reasons,” explained Danser.

During the event, the organization held some speeches and a moment of silence to honour those lost to overdose. Additionally, Turning Point offered naloxone training .

“By acknowledging it and getting the naloxone training, we can not only respond to it but we can notice when someone is in an overdose state and we can respond to that the correct way,” added Danser.

Danser says understanding what someone may be going through is a crucial element in getting them on the right path. In order to help someone facing addictions, he believes it is important to put stigmas aside and get the right education.

“Internally, we all have our own stigmas when it comes to overdose. I think definitely the best thing you can do is educate yourself and talk to the person and see what situation they are in.”