Preventing overdoses and stopping the stigma around addiction were the aims of a barbecue held Friday at the Langley Vineyard Church’s parking lot.
The event for Overdose Awareness Day is the second organized by Daniel Snyder of We All Play a ROLE, along with a host of other community organizations from Friends Langley Vineyard, Kimz Angels, the Gateway of Hope Shelter, and others.
Last year’s was a low-key event, Snyder said, but this event was broader, with almost a dozen tents from various organizations handing out information, and a talking circle of people who have been impacted by the death of a loved one from an overdose.
“Hopefully we can continue to grow it,” said Snyder.
The goals of the event are awareness and education, supporting those impacted by overdose deaths, and even providing practical advice and tools, such as Naloxone kit training.
“Anyone who wants to get trained and get a Naloxone kit has that opportunity,” said Snyder.
Levi Epp of the Lookout Housing and Health Society showed visitor Norman Ayles how to use a Naloxone kits. The kits can potentially neutralize the effects of an opioid overdose, if they’re administered in time.
“I’ve seen a lot of people ODing and needing help,” Ayles said.
Kimz Angels and founder Kimberly Snow were out with their black-and-pink converted ambulance, which has begun making the rounds helping the homeless and handing out basic items such as toiletries, food, and clothing.
The event helps bring together multiple social service agencies, not for profit groups, and churches, Snyder said.
He noted that there are more facets to the overdose crisis than the visible homeless population.
A majority of those found overdosing are in a home they own or rent.
Snyder himself was in addiction for 15 years, he said.
“Never unemployed, never homeless,” he notes.
Stigma around addiction can prevent people from coming forward and asking for help, Snyder said. It might be easier to talk to family and friends about a drinking problem than to admit a heroin addiction.
He was pleased to see local politicians, including a number of City councillors and Mayor Val van den Broek, and Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag visiting this year’s event.
“It’s nice to see that an event like this is supported by the City and Township,” said Snyder.
In addition to the info, the afternoon served as a barbecue and a get together for people in the neighbourhood.
Snyder is hoping next year it can be held in a public park.