Ariel Smith said overdose prevention training is not easily accessible in the region.
That’s why she started Okanagan Naloxone, which provides people training in recognizing an overdose and how to administer naloxone to reverse it.
“This was an effort to increase the reach of naloxone training and provide a hands-on experience so people are actually more comfortable with the materials. They get to play with the syringes and real water vials,” Smith said.
“Essentially, it’s to increase the public’s comfort level and availability of naloxone.”
Okanagan Naloxone’s sessions are free and private. The sessions are only about half an hour in length and can be done during a lunch break, according to Smith.
“We’ll pretty much meet people wherever they’re at in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.”
Smith said they’ve given training to several businesses, as well as schools.
She said the goal is to be able to offer the training to bigger groups all over the Okanagan at least once every month.
Smith added it’s better if more people receive the training.
“It’s like hurt immunity. If everyone around you is protected, you’re protected. So if everyone has this training… the more people that are prepared, the more lives we can save.”
Lindsay Booth is a volunteer with Okanagan Naloxone and she said one of the most important things to understand is that there is no “typical” person who would need overdose prevention.
“We all have this image in our head of people using drugs on the street, and they’re the ones who need naloxone kits but the reality is it can happen to anyone,” Booth said.
“The biggest demographic for overdoses is people using alone in their homes… it’s important to reach all sorts of people, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
For more information on booking training sessions, visit