Digging deeper into the provincial overdose crisis

More than 1400 people died in the province of British Columbia of illicit drug use in 2017, compared to 993 the previous year.  The majority of these deaths involved fentanyl and this increase in drug related mortality occurred despite a public health crisis declared over two years ago. Many claim that this is the worst public health crisis in our province’s history. How exactly did we get here?johnson

Cheyenne Johnson, Director of Clinical Activities and Development at the British Columbia Center on Substance Use and the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse, will share her perspective on this difficult question in a public talk at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.

The presentation will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in a talk entitled Beyond opioids: the overdose crisis—how did we get here?

Johnson, who is also the Director of the BC Center on Substance Use Addiction Nursing Fellowship, will provide a broad overview of the current overdose crisis and will also focus on the key gaps to improving the substance use system of care in BC. Key topics discussed will include stigma, science and social policy.

“Addiction, especially opioid addiction, doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Most chronic diseases don’t”, says Johnson. “Harm reduction is the foundation of all substance-use care. It is the lens through which we provide programs, policies and services, such as needle distribution, safe consumption sites, overdose prevention and education”.

In her current position, Johnson oversees the development of provincial clinical care guidance documents and dissemination, including evidence-based clinical guidelines, practice support tools and policy briefs. She is also actively involved the BCCSU’s interdisciplinary program of research related to substance use, bringing to bear her substantial experience in clinical trial operations (she is also a Certified Clinical Research Professional with experience in more than 20 addiction medicine, HIV/AIDS, dermatology, and ophthalmology clinical trials) as well as her background in health professions education, coordination and integration of care, and knowledge translation.

Cheyenne completed her Bachelor of Nursing Science at Queen’s University and her Master’s of Public Health at Simon Fraser University. She joined the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in 2013 as a Clinical Research Nurse, where she went on to be the Inaugural Nursing Fellow of Canada’s only addiction nursing training program, the St. Paul’s Goldcorp Addiction Nursing Fellowship.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644.

Eventbrite tickets available at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/beyond-opioids-the-overdose-crisis-talk-by-cheyenne-johnson-tickets-42950616450.

To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

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