Community taught harm-reduction, equipped to save lives, reduce overdoses


Lana Fine helped educate the audience in an interactive training seminar held at the Chief and PO’s Mess. Photo: Leslie Eaton, Lookout Staff.

Kateryna Bandura, 
Lookout Editor

To educate the Defence and surrounding community on opioid overdose identification, prevention, and treatment, MARPAC Health & Wellness Strategy (MHWS) held a Naloxone Training workshop at CFB Esquimalt as part of the National Addictions Awareness Week, Nov. 21 to 25.

The Naloxone Training session was organized by the Addictions-Free Living Working Group of the MHWS and presented by AVI Health & Community Services.

“We hope the training helped to facilitate open discussions around the topic of substance use and addictions to decrease the stigma associated with it,” said Andrea Lam, Health Promotion Specialist, PSP and the Health Promotion Representative for the Addictions-Free Living Working Group.

During the workshop, more than 60 participants learned about the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and how to differentiate between a stimulant and an opioid-induced overdose. Participants also learned how to administer Naloxone, a fast-acting, lifesaving drug used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose from substances such as fentanyl. Each participant received a Naloxone kit to take home.

Lana Fine, a Health Promotion Educator with AVI Health & Community Services, and her team shed light on harm-reduction strategies and the severity of the opioid crisis, including the impact on Vancouver Island. She provided helpful and tangible information on how people can come together to help one another while sharing insight from outreach workers who work directly in the community with those impacted by substance use disorder.

Lam said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It shows people are making this a priority and are open to learning more and talking about substance use and addiction, and how it impacts our community,” she said.

AVI Health & Community Services is a non-profit located on Vancouver Island with a mission to promote health, dignity, and well-being for all people affected by substance use by delivering harm reduction-based education, prevention, and support services. More information and resources for those with substance use disorder are available at

The Addictions-Free Living Working Group of the MARPAC Health & Wellness Strategy always looks for enthusiastic, passionate, and committed members to join the team. If you are interested in joining the working group, email for more information.

Naloxone kits are available for free to anyone living in BC. More information on where to get one is available at

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