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Eyes Wide Open: Overdose Awareness and Training Day

Waterloo, Ontario
October 10, 2012

In The Mind's Eye 2012:  Issues of Substance Use in Film + Forum presents...

Eyes Wide Open: Overdose Awareness and Training Day

October 10, 2012
99 Regina St. S., Room 508, Waterloo, Ontario

Registration available at: -

9am-12pm:  Guest Presentations including a Keynote Address by Betty-Lou Kristy
Author, Speaker, Advocate, Mental Health, Addiction, Trauma & Bereavement
CAMH Transforming Lives Award Recipient

1-4pm:  Overdose Prevention and Intervention Training courtesy of Preventing
Overdose Waterloo Wellington(POWW)


What a Year!  Overdose Prevention in Ontario 2012
Michael Parkinson, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council

2012 has been an exceptional year on a variety of overdose-related issues:  the delisting of OxyContin, the availability of Naloxone in Ontario courtesy of OHRDP, new interest and movement on Naloxone-based programs in a variety of communities, a major new report on barriers to calling 9-1-1 and finally, the introduction of Naloxone-based programs in British Columbia, now the second province in Canada to offer this cheap and effective life-saver.  And of course, volunteers with Preventing Overdose Waterloo Wellington (POWW) continue their amazing work training and educating around the province.

Michael will provide a glance at the year behind us, and what the future may have in store in reducing the extent of accidental overdose fatalities, injuries and

How Many?  Understanding the Extent of Accidental Overdoses
Jessica Deming, Epidemiologist, Region of Waterloo Public Health

Getting an accurate handle on how many people overdose in any given year has been a challenge for many communities in the past.  The data sources that are available are filled with important nuances.

We are pleased that Jessica Deming can be with us to shed some light on the murky aspects of data related to accidental overdoses in a way non-epidemiologists can understand.

Jessica Deming has been an Epidemiologist at the Region of Waterloo Public Health since 2009. An Epidemiologist's role in Public Health can be summed up with the 3 rights: to ensure that "the right data gets to the right people at the right time". Jessica provides expertise on health data and surveillance, working primarily with Public Health staff in the areas of healthy living, injury and substance misuse prevention, chronic disease prevention, and child and family health.

Is Overdose Prevention and Intervention a Priority in Policy and Planning Documents?
Rachel Schuman, University of Guelph Research Shop

More than 40 major policy and planning documents from a variety of governmental and regulatory bodies were reviewed for inclusion of efforts reduce accidental overdoses, and overdose fatalities.

Despite being a leading cause of accidental death for many years, the researchers found scant evidence of actions or intentions to reduce the extent and severity of accidental overdoses.  It is a curious response from health providers and others given that accidental overdoses have been a leading cause of death for many years and other jurisdictions, notably the U.S.A., have been implementing policy and programs for more than a decade.

For more information about the Research Shop visit:

Barriers to Calling 9-1-1 During an Overdose Incident
Anthony Piscitelli, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council

Literature from Europe, Australia and the U.S.A. points to police attendance at routine overdose incidents as a barrier for witnesses calling 9-1-1.  No such study of the issue has ever been done in Canada.

In 2012, the WRCPC undertook a study of 450 participants to determine if there are barriers to calling 9-1-1 for OD witnesses.  The study indicates that fear of arrest is a significant barrier to calling 9-1-1 and further, that those most likely to witness an OD are the least likely to call.

Anthony will present the findings of this groundbreaking study that has implications for reducing fatalities, injuries and improving access to health care.

Anthony Piscitelli has a Masters in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University. He has spent five years with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council and is currently in the role of Supervisor of Planning & Research.

Keynote:  Daring to Care enough to Share
Betty-Lou Kristy
Author, Speaker, Advocate, Mental Health, Addiction, Trauma & Bereavement
CAMH Transforming Lives Award Recipient

Betty-Lou's son Pete died at age 25 from an accidental mixed drug overdose of Oxycontin and psychiatric medication on December 23, 2001.  Pete died over the course of 6 hours as an in-patient  in a psychiatric ward of an Ontario hospital. Naloxone would have saved his life.

Betty-Lou is also a survivor of her own journey with mental illness, drug & alcohol addiction and childhood trauma.  In her family of three sisters- Betty-Lou's 25 yr old son died, her younger sister's 23 yr old step-son died and her twin sister's (now 29 yr  old son) fought this addiction for over 5 years, lost everything and almost died several times.

Since Pete's death, Betty-Lou has been an outspoken provincial advocate, speaker, active committee member and facilitator/trainer for mental health, addictions, trauma and bereavement reform.

Betty-Lou is a former board director and peer support bereavement facilitator for Bereaved Families of Ontario-Halton/Peel, working alongside other parents who have lost a child to an accidental overdose.  She is currently a board director for the Canadian Mental Health Association-HRB and is also engaged in multi-focused strategies to improve outcomes for those with an opioid dependence.

Betty-Lou has worked on specialized projects such as the Health Minister's Consumer Advisory for the 10 year Mental Health & Addiction Strategy and the Health Minister's Expert Working Group Narcotic Addiction that was convened after Ontario delisted OxyContin earlier this year.

Betty-Lou knows from personal experience and from working alongside bereaved families that Naloxone needs to be made available to those parents and others because it works, with no significant downside.  Betty-Lou believes strongly that effective care and choice is a fundamental human right for all people struggling & suffering with mental health, addiction, trauma and/or bereavement issues.

Join us for an engaging and enlightening presentation on issues of overdose, from someone who has been there, done that- and is working to restore the preservation of life- and quality of life- as a key goal for all in Ontario.

Overdose Prevention and Intervention Training with Preventing Overdose Waterloo Wellington (POWW)

Unique in Canada, POWW will provide an overview of substance use, risk factors, and recognizing the signs and symptoms for an accidental overdose.  Strategies for reventing an accidental overdose and responding effectively will be highlighted.

Three sessions with two trainers each are being provided.  Space is limited. Participants will each receive a take-home workbook. 

Donations to POWW welcome but not required.

Key Links:
CAMH 2009 Transforming Lives Award Recipient Betty-Lou Kristy -

Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program

BC Centre for Disease Control Harm Reduction Program

The Overdose Prevention Alliance


Registration available at: -