Kamloops addiction centre turns to drug users for new ways to tackle overdose crisis - InfoNews

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Kamloops addiction centre turns to drug users for new ways to tackle overdose crisis

July 11, 2018 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - The Phoenix Centre in Kamloops is looking to survey 300 people who have used or are using drug substances in an anonymous based survey to help battle the overdoses crisis in Kamloops.

In an effort to reduce the number of overdose deaths in the community, the addiction centre has launched a web-based survey to gather information directly from people who currently have or had addictions with opioids.

"After we review the information we gather from the surveys we will be able to track patterns of drug use with the intention of learning from peoples' experience," says executive director Sian Lewis.

Although there are lots of different initiatives being brought forward to help with the overdose crisis, Lewis says the goal of the survey is to find different and more creative ways to reduce the number of overdose deaths by directly interviewing the people affected by opioids. 

"We have moments when we are seeing decreases in (overdose) deaths but then death rates go up again... and we are left thinking, 'well what happened?'"

Lewis says by going to the people who have lived experience of drug use and listening to their stories, they are hoping to find a long-term and effective solution.

"We are hoping for that 'a-ha' moment and hopefully we will identify something we haven't been able to before," she says.

The survey is called SenseMaker and the Phoenix Centre has been working with Cynefin Centre at Bangor University in Wales, U.K. to make it happen.

"This is in partnership with them they have been kind and donated their software all for the purpose of supporting this project in Kamloops," she says.

Lewis says they already launched a trial survey and spoke with 27 individuals to refine the survey.

"Those surveys resulted in some good feedback and revisions," she says. 

So far they have collected approximately 30 completed surveys and are hoping to get to 300.

The survey can be done anonymously and anybody who wants to participate will receive a $10 gift card to Safeway or Save-on-Foods. The survey will be available at different locations including King Street Centre, New Life Mission, Out of the Cold Shelter, White Buffalo Indigenous Urban Services, Parkview Activity Centre and JUMP Kamloops.

For those who would like to volunteer to help conduct surveys or would like more information in general, they are asked to call the Phoenix Centre at 250-374-4634.

For more coverage on overdoses in B.C. go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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