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Northern College hosts addictions awareness event

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Three guest speakers were invited to Northern College to share information, personal stories and statistics about the opioid crisis from the frontlines.

Seamus Murphy, the Deputy Chief of Cochrane District Paramedic Services was one of them.

He showed a number of slides to the Addictions and Mental Health Worker students and other members of the public including one that indicated all the toxins that are included in street-level fentanyl – caffeine being the leading filler, along with other opioids and cocaine.

Murphy also said of the 115 opioid-related deaths that paramedics responded to from 2017 to 2021, only one of them was a homeless person.

Some students who spoke with CTV News said they have a profound need to want to help. They told us that people in the community are struggling and they want to be there for them. They said they are also hoping others step up to help them.

“We are swimming against the tide,” said Parth Dhruv, one of the students in attendance.

“There’s already so many people who are against what we do so even if you can’t contribute in a positive way or in any way to what we’re doing, at least don’t make it difficult for us."

His peer, Moe Duguay said a lot of people suffer from trauma and they end up falling into the grips of addictions.

"I think this is one of the most challenging times and there is a lot of frustration out there in the community,” said Duguay.

“We’re looking at arming ourselves with the best in education and communication in order to combat that frustration and help people move forward through these tough times."

A lecturer in community psychology at Brock University, Scott Neufeld, said he hopes people in the audience will come away with some different ideas and ways of thinking about stigma or the exclusion of people who use drugs.

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