October 07, 2016 - 8:00 PM
'I'M STILL TRYING TO HEAL.'
KAMLOOPS - Daryl Berry was 20-years-old and working in Fort St. John last year, more than 900 kilometres away from his mother Sandy Kraft who lives in Kamloops.
On Oct. 25, 2015 Kraft got a phone call that would change her life forever.
“I felt so helpless when I got that phone call,” Kraft said. “There was nothing I could do. I wasn’t even there.”
Berry was found dead in his room after a fentanyl overdose. He was living at a dry camp while working.
“I didn’t even know he was using.”
Now, nearly a year after her son’s death, Kraft is hoping to do her part to help put an end to the fentanyl crisis in B.C. She still feels hopeless about not being able to be there for her son and it’s frustrating for her when she sees addicts around her downtown Kamloops business. When Kraft heard of multiple overdoses in one week, she turned to a community Facebook page.
“I would like to see the businesses along (Victoria Street) and a few other higher risk business areas be supplied with narcan kits and be taught how to use them,” she posted.
Kraft says the idea originally started out as her venting, but she felt like she was on the right track to creating a conversation around naloxone.
“I’m still trying to heal from my son, this is the first thing I’ve done and it’s taken a year,” she says. “If somebody survives and lives through this by reading this or by having the kits available, that would be awesome.”
She says it’s important for people who work downtown to have access to naloxone kits and know how to properly administer the shot because it could help save a life.
One of the problems with her plan is the cost. Kraft says businesses would need to have multiple kits on hand in case of an emergency and at $40 a kit it could get expensive. She thinks the cost of the kit should be covered for anyone who wants to purchase the overdose-reverser, not just addicts.
Kraft also thinks less young people would die if drug testing kits were also made available.
In Vancouver, Insite's supervised injection site recently tested the drugs at its facility and found up to 86 per cent of drugs contained fentanyl. Insite introduced testing strips for drugs as part of a pilot project.
“It’s going to be a multi-step approach because you’re not going to find a blanket solution that’s going to work for everybody,” Kraft says. “I think if Daryl had a test kit, if the kids had a test kit, maybe… some of them would actually test the product that they’re getting.”
Kraft wants to see better access to naloxone kits and more education about how to administer the drug.
"There should be somebody that’s going to these businesses and holding a training class," she says. "Not everybody in the business needs to be trained."
She has advice to offer for anyone who's still considering using drugs despite the possible deadly outcome.
"Have a kit and don’t be alone. Never be alone," Kraft says. "My son was alone, there was nobody with him."
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