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ID: 134

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Practice

Topics: Children, Young People and Drug Use; Overdose Prevention and Management

Presenting author: Elise Durante

Presenting author biography:

Clinical Coordinator - Inner City Youth Program, Providence Health Care

Wakes You Up: Naloxone and the Inner City Youth Experience

Keren Mitchell, Elise Durante, Katrina Pellatt, Steve Mathias, Chris Richardson, Jane Buxton

Although Take Home Naloxone (THN) is an effective harm reduction intervention, there is a dearth of literature specific to youth. In our community youth embraced THN, however they noted that the training and health-promotion materials were less relatable and geared towards people with a longer-term history of opioid use.

Vancouver, Canada has been hard hit by increased overdoses due in part to fentanyl being passed off as, or laced into, the majority of unregulated psychoactive substances. A public health emergency was declared in April 2016 in British Columbia due to a substantial increase in overdose deaths.

Providence Health Care's Inner City Youth (ICY) Program is a wellness program for people aged 12-24, in the urban centre of Vancouver, Canada. ICY has been enrolled in the BC Centre for Disease Control’s THN program since October 2013, and to date has trained over 200 people, and had over 50 kits used to respond to overdose. When we began providing THN kits we noticed youth started to talk more openly about their drug use and youth who were often hard to connect with became more engaged. In order to understand this dynamic, we explored young people’s experiences through a community-based participatory research study.

Many participants revealed they had responded to overdoses with naloxone. Relationships with staff were strengthened as a result of THN training, and youth reported an increased locus of control and a reduction in stigma. Youth made suggestions for program improvement including more doses of naloxone in kits and greater access overall to THN. The authors partnered with a graphic design company and youth artists to produce a full-colour booklet, training video, and postcards featuring the art and writing of young people who’ve been involved in overdose situations.