As the opioid overdose crisis continues, it appears it’s not only the paramedics, firefighters, and volunteers who cope with the pressure to respond.
According to the BC Government and Service Employees Union, some are social workers or other kinds of government workers who happen to be there when a person overdoses.
The BCGEU’s James Cavalluzzo says he constantly hears from workers who have found themselves responding to overdoses.
“One person we talked to for example in Victoria, they had five overdoses in the foyer of a shelter in just one evening. These are folks who have not received the same level of training that first responders get.”
Cavalluzzo says some agencies have tried to prepare and train their staff, but the level varies from organisation to organisation.
“And to also start to pay attention to what the long term impacts are and we’re looking ahead to that now because we think that there could be a kind of really noticeable effect down the road of people that have been exposed to very traumatic situations, including people dying.”
The BCGEU is hosting a forum for its members next Thursday on how to cope both medically and mentally as the demands on them continue to grow.