Opioids: Information On Misuse And Overdose

Health Canada has declared the use of opioids a national public health crisis, with 2458 opioid-related deaths in Canada in 2016. In 2017, there were 24 confirmed and 5 probable opioid-related deaths in Nova Scotia. In July 2017, the Government of Nova Scotia released their Opioid Use & Overdose Framework to help tackle the immediate impacts and long term effects of opioid use and overdose in Nova Scotia.

Our Objectives

To raise awareness about opioid use, a national public health crisis in Canada. To educate students, faculty, staff and visitors about how to react in the event of a suspected opioid-related overdose. To inform the campus community of support services available on and off campus.

Awareness & Education

Overdose Signs and Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of a possible opioid overdose are:

  • breathing is slow or not breathing at all
  • nails and/or lips are blue
  • choking or throwing up
  • making gurgling sounds
  • skin is cold and clammy
  • cannot be woken up

If you encounter someone with any of these signs or symptoms:

  • CALL 911 and follow the directions of the dispatcher (place your phone down and put your phone on speaker)
  • Do not hang up on the 911 dispatcher.
  • Do not leave the person unattended-stay with them until Emergency Health Services arrive and take over.
  • If possible, instruct another person to contact Campus Security at (902)578-2316. Campus Security Officers are equipped with NARCAN (Naloxone) nasal spray and will administer it if/when directed to by the 911 dispatcher.

Support

There are supports services available if you or someone you know is battling drug addiction, needs someone to talk to or is unsure of where to get help. Please refer to the following links for more information:

Cape Breton University Counselling Services: CBU’s Personal Counsellors are Clinical Social Workers who work with our students to deal with a variety of issues including anger, parenting, grief, depression and anxiety, relationship issues, family conflict, time management, stress, financial concerns and couples counselling.

Nova Scotia Health Authority- Addiction Services: Mental Health and Addictions (MHA) gives care and support to people with mental health disorders and substance/gambling addictions. This includes health promotion and prevention, as well as general and specialized treatment programs. These programs include outpatient/community-based programs, home/school-based interventions and inpatient services.

Sharp Advise Needle Exchange Outreach Services: Located at 150 Bentinck Street in Sydney (use back door), the Sharp Advice Needle Exchange is a non-profit community based organization sponsored by the AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton and funded through the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion & Protection. Contact: 902-539-5556

Narcotics Anonymous- A Resource in Your Community: Anyone with a desire to stop using drugs is welcome to become a member of Narcotics Anonymous. Membership is not limited to addicts using any particular drug. Those who feel they may have a problem with drugs, legal or illegal, including alcohol, are welcome in NA. Recovery in NA focuses on the problem of addiction, not on any particular drug.