Langley Overdose Training Shows We Can All Play a R.O.L.E.

May 29, 2019. Article by: Government of BC

An idea is like a pebble dropped into water – it can create a ripple that has far-reaching effects.

The success of a naloxone training challenge in Vernon has inspired overdose awareness educators in other parts of B.C. to launch similar projects designed for their own communities.

Arianna Wingfield is one of those educators. Arianna, an Overdose Response Project Coordinator with Stepping Stone Community Services in Langley, developed We All Play a R.O.L.E. (Responding to Overdose in Langley through Education) to show Langley residents that everyone can make a positive difference.

From high schools and churches to martial arts gyms and law firms, different groups across Langley have embraced the project. Arianna answered some questions to tell us more about We All Play a R.O.L.E.

 

Can you describe the project?

Our project is about educating and empowering Langley residents to play a role in mitigating the overdose crisis. Statistics show us that this crisis is affecting nearly everyone! In the past two years alone, Langley has lost nearly 70 people, meaning that someone’s family member, friend, or co-worker is at risk. The training we provide is for Langley businesses or groups to learn about who is at risk, the impact on Langley City and the Township, stigma awareness, and education on the toxicity of the drug supply in British Columbia. We also train participants on how to recognize an overdose and respond with naloxone.

Currently, we are inviting groups to participate in the “Langley Overdose Training Challenge” where they can challenge three other groups to participate once they have completed the training.

The biggest takeaway from our project so far is that we can all either isolate individuals or dignify them. We want to send a message that people are valuable, whether they use substances or not. 

 

How did the project start?

After Langley became one of the hardest hit communities by the overdose crisis in B.C., the Langley Community Action Team received funding to find ways to mitigate the crisis. Our team is using this funding to deliver educational seminars.

We quickly realized the groups we had been presenting to wanted to be more involved. They were sharing the information with friends or other businesses, so we decided to add the Langley Overdose Training Challenge to our presentations.

 

What has the response to the project been like in the community?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s evidence that the people of Langley have a desire to be directly involved in addressing the crisis in their community. We are so appreciative of the groups that have already participated. We have had trades businesses, law firms, ESL teachers, university classes, martial arts gyms, Rotary groups, churches, teacher associations, council members, the Langley Chamber of Commerce, and so many others participate. We are deeply grateful to live in a city where people want to play a role.

 

What do you hope to achieve with the training in Langley?

We hope that Langley will continue the work of becoming a community of safety, inclusion, and compassion. Mental health and addictions challenges are not moral failures, but health conditions that can be addressed with treatment and support services. We hope to keep sharing the evidence-based truths while debunking some of those harmful myths.

We want to address how our attitudes, language, and actions towards people who use substances is crucial in affecting change.

We are working on breaking down the stigma around substance use because a compassionate, informed approach saves lives and gives people hope.

 

Has there been any unexpected or surprising results?

We have been astounded by how close to home this issue is for so many of our participants. Being able to hear people’s stories has been such an unexpected gift to us. We have also received feedback from our participants that they have saved people’s lives with their naloxone kit since the training. One of our participants saved someone’s life just two days after we presented to their business.

 

How does it feel to see communities collaborate, share ideas to respond to the overdose crisis, and be involved in this work?

It has been incredibly rewarding. Each community has its own unique set of needs, however we all share common denominators.

We are all losing people we love and are all trying desperately to save people’s lives.

There is hardly a person among us who has not been affected, in some way, by the crisis. It has touched everyone. And things will only improve if everyone pitches in to make things better. It has been encouraging to see our communities come together on this issue.

Efforts to save lives in Langley highlight people’s desire to support some of their communities’ most pressing needs. You can get involved too:

Langley residents interested in scheduling free naloxone training or learning more about We All Play a R.O.L.E. can contact Arianna at awingfield@sscss.org.