REGINA -- A deadly start to July has prompted police and community groups to emphasize the need for more of a medication that can save those experiencing opioid overdoses.

On Thursday, the Regina Police Service held a press conference to discuss the ongoing issues of drug use in the community. It said since July 1, six people in Regina died from drug overdoses.

The service encourages people in the community to have Naloxone, or Narcan, kits, on hand, hoping the more kits available will mean less overdoses. The drug counteracts the effects of overdoses.

Tania Klyne experienced the importance of Naloxone first-hand one night, when her neighbor overdosed.

"[I] found out that he had overdosed on an opioid, probably fentanyl,” Klyne said. “Someone was already on the phone with 9-1-1. I explained that I had Narcan training and that I would be administering Narcan because he was not responsive."

Klyne said she gave the man two doses of Narcan. It wasn’t until EMS arrived and they also gave him the medication that the man woke up.

"You could be walking down the street and someone could be overdosing,” Klyne said “It’s reality here in our society."

Klyne is a volunteer with Queen City Patrol. The group patrols neighbourhoods to collect and safely dispose of used syringes. The patrol started in November of 2019, and since then has collected more than 17,000 needles.

Wade Lecaine, a co-founder of the patrol, lost his best friend to a drug overdose and said if someone had Naloxone there, she would have survived.

“The night she passed away, naloxone wasn’t there,” Wade Lecaine said. “That was her third over dose and it was the only time they didn’t have naloxone in the house."

The AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan provides free naloxone kits as well as training to administer the medication. People do not have to give their name to get a kit, they just need to participate in a short anonymous survey.

The non-profit organization said in 2019, it gave out 357 kits. Meanwhile, from January to June of 2020, its already handed out 873 kits. It believes more people are wanting naloxone kits, because if someone is overdosing from fentanyl, they might need more than one dose of Naloxone to wake up.

“Because fentanyl is so potent, it can take up to eight shots of naloxone to reverse it,” Sophie Pitman of AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan said. “Unfortunately these kits come with about two or three shots."