Corey Ranger holds up his naloxone kit, something he always carries around. Having the product and training on hand has helped him save three lives since moving to Victoria in April. (File Contributed/ Corey Ranger)

Victoria nurse urges compassion after being confronted while saving overdose victim

RN has saved three people’s lives in eight months

Corey Ranger was on one of his daily lunch time walks when he came across someone on the cusp of death.

The man was near Bastion Square; his breathing shallow and his lips blue. Ranger, a registered nurse who has worked for a decade with vulnerable populations, immediately recognized the person could be overdosing on opioids.

Ranger whipped out one of the naloxone kits he carries around in his unicorn fanny-pack and began preparing the medicine.

A crowd began to draw around him, and from behind him Ranger heard a young man shout: “Just let him die for f**k’s sake.”

While Ranger was irked, he felt worse for the person he was helping.

“It’s awful; that person wasn’t doing very well and then they hear that,” Ranger said. Over the years, however, Ranger’s heard it all. “Working in the field you see a lot of people have either substance use, mental health issues or circumstances viewed through a moral sense, and it makes people feel emboldened to say very hurtful things.”

ALSO READ: Victoria advocates demand a safe supply of opioids

The problem, Ranger said, is a lack of education which only exacerbates the problem.

“It’s statements like that which result in a spiraling stigma that makes people feel even more isolated,” he said. “The more isolated you are, the more likely you are to have an overdose.”

Since Ranger moved to Victoria from Alberta eight months ago, he’s come across three overdoses: one near Bastion Square, one near the Royal Jubilee Hospital and one in a high-end bar.

The common factor in all of these situations was that the people were using alone.

“Drug use happens across all demographics,” Ranger said. “The only difference for those in poverty is that they don’t have walls to hide behind.”

READ MORE: Youngest opioid overdose victim in B.C. in 2017 was 10 years old

The BC Coroner’s Service reported that between January and October, 702 people died of illicit drug overdose in B.C., including 40 in Victoria. Of these, 77 per cent were men, most of whom were using alone at home.

While Ranger said sometimes the public feedback is demoralizing, it’s important to remember it comes from a place of ignorance, which he tries to tackle ignorance in the form of a conversation. One thing to point out is that 2019 saw the first decline in opioid overdose deaths since 2012 thanks to ongoing efforts with harm reduction services.

“Get yourself informed; there’s a lot we can do at every level to promote change and to promote positive outcomes for people,” he said. “Learn about what you’re making this comments on, and go get some naloxone training.”

Anyone who may need information on opioids, including overdose treatment and outreach services, can check out Black Press Media’s 2019 Overdose Prevention Guide available at vicnews.com/e-editions.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Task force brainstorms on support for Semiahmoo homeless community

Community service providers gather to discuss options for housing, income safety and more

Two people reportedly sent to hospital after two-vehicle collision in Surrey

Collision happened on the 16500-block of 64 Avenue

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Surrey RCMP investigate report of explosion at home

‘Emotionally elevated’ person taken ‘safely’ into custody: police

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Most Read