COURTENAY, B.C. – On International Overdose Awareness Day, Sarah Sullivan taught potentially life-saving lessons at the Courtenay Night Market.
Each lesson on how to use a naloxone kit takes between two and three minutes and is easy to learn, noted Sullivan, the  manager of AIDS Vancouver Island.
A half an hour after today’s market opened, the response has already been great, Sullivan told MyComoxValleyNow.com.
“We’re here to honour and remember people who have died by overdose, as well as teach as many people as we can on how to reverse an overdose so we can save a life,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan brought 30 naloxone kits to the market to hand out.
But those who don’t have a kit can still save a life through CPR, she stressed.
“It’s all about the breaths,” she said. “If you don’t have a naloxone kit you can still save a life by continuing to breathe one breath every five seconds while you wait for emergency services to arrive. People need to have oxygen. Just keep breathing for that person and call 9-1-1.”
Naloxone kits are key, however, and can be picked up for free at different service agency offices across Courtenay, including at the AIDS Vancouver Island office,  355 6th Street.
Drug overdoses were particularly deadly in July across the province.
There were 134 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C. in July, marking a 12 percent increase over the number of deaths in July 2017 (120) and a 25 percent jump from the number of deaths in June 2018 (107), according to a BC Coroners Service report.
The number of illicit drug overdose deaths in July 2018 equates to about 4.3 deaths per day.
In northern Vancouver Island, there were 17 overdose deaths from Jan. 1 to July 31 of this year.
Sullivan said substance use transcends all boundaries.
“We need to really address the stigma about substance use so people will talk about and also learn how to support their friends and family,” she said.
Today’s market is scheduled to run until 9:00 p.m.