News Release: Victoria Carpenters Union Offers Naloxone Kits to Construction Workers
The Carpenters’ Regional Council in Victoria is the first craft union in B.C. to offer naloxone kits and training to its members for free. The program will save the lives of construction workers, their friends, and their loved ones in an industry disproportionately affected by substance abuse and mental health issues.
The naloxone kits are being provided through the B.C. Construction Industry Rehab Plan’s (CIRP) ‘A Kit in Every Hand’ initiative. According to the CIRP, 55 per cent of all the people who have died in the opioid epidemic are construction workers, a number that has increased a staggering 33 per cent in the last five years. Union Representative Matt Carlow was instrumental in getting the program piloted in Victoria:
“It’s just a matter of time [working] in this industry before you know someone who’s died from an overdose. It seems like not long before you know more than you can count.”
The Victoria office was chosen to pilot this initiative after Local 1598 union members took action in light of frequently reported opioid deaths in construction.
Carlow, a long-time 1598 member, is proud his union boldly took on the initiative,
“There’s a lot of stigma around this. But people are dying alone in their homes. Naloxone saves lives, and this union looks out for its members. This is a real way we can stop the deaths. I hope others follow our lead.”
The naloxone kits are free and available to members of the union along with free training. Participants can receive a certificate upon completing a 10-minute course. While the project is being piloted in Victoria, the Carpenters plan to expand it to offices across the province. Within the first week of piloting the program, the Victoria office has distributed more than 10 naloxone kits.