“Selflessly helping those in greatest physical, mental and spiritual need without judgment, and building their resilience. We will put the needs of others before ourselves, working for stronger communities.”

Shawn McLaren, Head of Training, St. John Ambulance/ Ambulance Saint Jean Canada:

People who use drugs in Canada face a tremendous amount of stigma, which in many cases prevents them from receiving support and understanding from the general population. Our Opioid Poisoning Response Team (OPRT) is comprised of people who have worked on the front line of this public health crisis, and thus brings compassion, empathy, and a drive to aid those without judgement. Our goal in this effort is to provide two very specific things.

First, getting naloxone into the communities at the center of the crisis.

To date we have distributed over 50,000 nasal naloxone kits into communities where the need is the greatest which has helped save countless lives.

Secondly, we are creating awareness about who is at risk of either experiencing an accidental opioid poisoning, or encountering someone experiencing an accidental opioid poisoning. Everyone is at risk in this crisis. In 2022, there were over 8,000 lives lost to accidental opioid poisoning in Canada. This number continues to grow year over year, across all demographics, and our hope is that by reducing stigma, we can create a population that is willing to carry a naloxone kit, and are willing to act when needed to save a life.

Listen to Shawn describe the work of the Opioid Poisoning Response Team directly here: https://youtu.be/3bn73yVwiNc

You can read more about how we as #OneStJohn lived our values in our everyday work in 2022 by reading our new Annual Report.