No questions asked

Health promoter Michelle Kolobutin, left, and community health worker Jodi Kurzhals, both with NorWest Community Health Centres, stand in the Shoemakers Garden on Simpson Street.

In an effort to keep unused, unwanted, or expired medications from getting into the environment or the wrong hands, a drug amnesty day is being held Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the NorWest Community Health Centres on Simpson Street.

A tent will be set up outside in the Shoemakers Garden adjacent to the centre where people are encouraged to drop of any kind of drug, legal or illicit, as well as any drug paraphernalia, no questions asked.

Michelle Kolobutin, health promoter at the centre, explained that besides disposing of drugs safely, they wanted to hold the event to promote awareness of Overdose Prevention Day on Friday. They also hope to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.

“We wanted to break down the assumption that you need to be someone who is a street-involved individual using drugs,” said Kolobutin. “Drugs are available to all of us, it’s so easy to start taking something wrong or for someone else to get access to it. It doesn’t need to be someone on the street level taking drugs and have an overdose.”

In Thunder Bay in 2017, there were 26 overdose deaths, almost all of which were classified as accidental, explained Kolobutin. While she said she didn’t have a demographic breakdown of those individuals, Kolobutin said it isn’t uncommon for someone to read a label incorrectly or take the wrong medication.

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