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After SkyTrain overdose, Port Moody woman wants to train teens to save lives

SFU student seeking volunteers who will train to teach Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody students about B.C.'s opioid overdose crisis and what they can do to reduce stigma, recognize and prevent a toxic drug overdose

Chloe Goodison was 16 when she saw her first overdose. 

She was aboard a SkyTrain travelling from Coquitlam to Port Moody when she spotted a young woman looking ill and confused. Suddenly, the woman collapsed onto her lap.

In shock, Goodison called 911. It was only later when she learned the woman had suffered an overdose.

“I had zero idea of what was going on. For all I knew she had fainted — that bothered me,” she said. “I had no idea that (overdosing from illicit drugs) was so prevalent in B.C. and I didn’t know how to help or what was happening.”

The trauma of that moment, and the helplessness she remembers feeling, spurred the young woman to understand what led to that near deadly encounter and how she might be able to cope should it ever happen again. 

While at high school, Goodison said she never learned about B.C.’s overdose crisis — even though 106 people have died of an overdose in Coquitlam since drug deaths started to spike in 2016, nor did she learn about the lifesaving Naloxone, which is available to people who do online training.

After her experience on SkyTrain, Goodison trained in the use of Naloxone and carries a kit with her where ever she goes. Now a health sciences student at Simon Fraser University, Goodison is looking to share what she has learned with other people.

“Considering B.C. has been in a declared overdose crisis for five years, it’s problematic to think young people entering the world aren’t learning about overdoses and how to keep people safe,” said Goodison.

Many are likely to come across an overdose at one time or another — be it a loved one, a work colleague or a friend at a party and Naloxone training could help them save a life, she said. She’d like to see more youth get training so they can identify an overdose and deal with it if one happens in front of them.

To make that happen Goodison has created a Fraser Health-approved training module she will use to instruct volunteer trainers so they can educate high school students in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody schools.

In addition to Fraser Health’s approval, Goodison has received support and interest from teachers and administrators in School District 43, and with a $3,000 grant she won for the 2020 SFU Student Community Engagement Competition, she hopes to start that training soon.

Goodison is looking to recruit a NaloxHome team of 18- to 25-year-olds from across the Tri-Cities. 

The training team members will receive includes: 

• information on B.C. overdose statistics;

• an overview of the Good Samaritan Overdose Law, which stipulates how someone who calls 911 to report a drug overdose can't be charged for drug possession in connection with the incident;

• how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and how they differ from other medical emergencies;

• information about the toxic drug supply;

• how to treat an overdose with Naloxone, including training on what it is, how it is injected, where and how to get it and how to refill it once used.

Interested volunteers can follow her on Instagram at @naloxhome or contact her via [email protected] for an interview.