Canadian First Aid, CPR courses adding opioid poisoning response training

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Standard First Aid training courses across Canada will now include how to respond to an overdose.

Thanks to nearly $8 million in funding from the Substance Use and Addiction Program, the Canadian Red Cross and St. John Ambulance will be collaborating to add opioid poisoning education to their curriculum.

Instructor Andrew Johnston says the goal is to reach remote, underserved, and Indigenous communities.

“For the next three years, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to train 1.5 million people on how to recognize opioid emergencies, and how to respond to opioid emergencies, and in turn, how to save lives in those emergencies.”

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During the course, people will learn to recognize opioid emergencies, how to treat them, and make people feel more comfortable responding in those situations.

More than 21,000 people died of toxic drugs across Canada from 2016 to 2020 — 97 per cent happening by accident.

Deaths related to the toxic drug supply have only worsened during the pandemic, which is why Johnston says the training is in high demand.

“We’ve been getting requests for it from our audience, so we know there’s a demand, there’s a need for our course audiences. So for us to be able to introduce it in all of our courses across Canada, it’s a huge opportunity for the Red Cross, and for all of our training partners.”

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