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Sask. project aims to reduce drug overdose deaths


Ninety-two confirmed overdose deaths and 199 more suspected deaths have occurred in the province this year as of Aug. 1, according to a report from Saskatchewan’s Coroner.

Now, a new project between the University of Regina and AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan (APSS), called Project, was launched on Wednesday, which will aim to change those statistics and lives of people behind them, according to a media release from the University of Regina (U of R).

The project will map discarded needles in public places and offer naloxone training and recovery options where there is high needle use.

“By targeting hotspot areas, we expect to be able to reduce the number of drug-related deaths and encourage safer needle use,” said Dr. Andrew Eaton, assistant professor in the U of R’s Faculty of Social Work.

The web application, developed by APSS, allows people who find used needs on the ground to enter in their location.

Staff then collects the information and the research team will use the data to figure out the hotspot areas and increase harm reduction supports.

The team will train 50 Regina residents who use drugs in administering naloxone and peer support, the release said.

“When people who use drugs can discuss substance use with their peers in a facilitated space that includes education and therapy, it can be an effective way to reduce overdoses,” said Shiny Mary Varghese, the executive director of APSS.

Varghese will co-lead the project with Eaton, which will use geographic information system-based real-time mapping of hotspots through

“This will allow us to accurately focus harm reduction interventions to maximize efficiency and impact by empowering the target population,” Varghese said.

The two-year project was funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. Top Stories

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