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As Sask.'s opioid crisis continues, some are calling for more education for overdose prevention

Saskatchewan’s opioid crisis is on the rise again this year after an expected plateau in 2022.

“Unfortunately this year we’re up quite a bit, we’re suspecting about 186 deaths that was until the end of April, looks like 68 suspected deaths just in the city of Regina,” Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said.

In 2022, Weighill said there were 387 reported opioid deaths in Saskatchewan, Just four months into 2023 the province is already at close to 200.

This is why Ivy Kennedy is taking action.

She wants to let people know that the crisis is rampant, especially in Regina’s North Central community, which is why she is putting up billboards.

“That kind of education within the community, hopefully, will get something done and the signage is our number one and we want more up in North Central,” she said.

She has ordered two signs at this time, one for 4th Avenue and Albert Street and one by the North Central SARCAN in Regina.

She hopes they spark enough interest and conversation to educate, especially the youth in Regina and the rest of Saskatchewan.

“Like nobody is educating our children, so education is important. We don’t know how potent that fentanyl is, they don’t know how potent that fentanyl is, so we need to warn them and say, ‘this is what can kill you.’”

Kennedy lost two grandchildren and a nephew in the past two years to overdoses, unfortunately she is not alone.

Shay Scales lost her older brother and sister to overdose and attributes it to the lack of education and abundance of availability.

“Even in school I never learned about things like [how] drugs can be laced with certain things and I think that a lot of the younger generation should know about it,” Scales said.

Both Weighill and Kennedy agree that education is of the utmost importance, especially when buying drugs on the street that could be laced with more dangerous substances.

As for Scales, the billboards are a great way to start.

“Seeing it on the street and stuff like that, it’s going to spread through Regina and everywhere else so more people can know about it.”

Noel Ponace told CTV News that he deals with overdoses weekly.

“I see it all the time, I manage a building here in the city so I have to deal with it weekly, so I have to always have Narcan available in case someone overdoses anywhere inner-city it’s a struggle for everyone,” Ponance said.

Ponace said he believes most people are impacted, even if they don’t take the drugs, many know someone who has.

That is why the education piece is so vital for Kennedy. She said she is meeting with Regina Police Chief Evan Bray and the public school board to figure out more ways to educate youth in Regina.

But for Scales, having the personal experience was lesson enough for her to stay away from drugs.

“I wouldn’t want that for any of my younger siblings to see me like that.” Top Stories

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