LGBT substance-use programs: naloxone training for gay men, Indigenous trauma and substance abuse group

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      While there are various programs in the Lower Mainland that address substance use issues, two upcoming programs are intended to help LGBT people access resources by holding them within queer-supportive spaces.

      Trauma and substance abuse

      To address a trauma and substance abuse issues experienced by Indigenous two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, the Four Feathers Society is launching Taking Back Your Power.

      This group will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. from March 9 to 29 at the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C. (520 Richards Street). Dinner will be included.

      The sessions, conducted by addiction counsellors Robert Hong and Carolynn Dimmer with elder Robert Klein, will incorporate smudging, talking circles, and Indigenous teachings, and will explore subjects such as the relationship between post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and healing from PTSD.

      There is no cost for the program but the deadline for intake, which can be done by calling 604-628-1143, is by March 13.

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      Naloxone training

      In response to the overdose crisis in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver-based queer male centre Health Initiative for Men (HIM) has been providing staff and volunteer with naloxone training and are extending their Take Home Naloxone program to men from men who have sex with men (MSM) communities.

      Naloxone helps to quickly block the effects of an overdose from opioids, such as fentanyl, heroin, methodone, and morphine.

      It is available in B.C. without prescription and is usually given as an injection into muscle.

      Participants will learn how to use naloxone kits when responding to an opioid overdose and how to save a life at risk. Each participant will receive a kit after the training.

      Two upcoming sessions will be held: one in New Westminster on March 15 at the Anvil Centre (417–717 Columbia Street) and one in Surrey on March 21 at the HIM in Surrey Health Centre (220–10362 King George Boulevard). Both will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

      Cost is by donation (with a minimum of $10).

      Registration is necessary by the day before each training session and only 20 participants will be accepted for each location. To register or for more information, email or call 604-488-1001. For more information about HIM, visit the HIM website.

      If you're unable to attend those dates, you may be interested to know that in December, the B.C. government also launched an online naloxone training program.