'It's a lot of hurt': Regina families cope with overdose deaths, encourage others to keep naloxone kits

During a year where two dozen people are confirmed to have died from drug overdoses in Regina so far, many families are left to deal with the aftermath of losing a loved one to addiction.

Krista Shore buried her cousin last weekend after he died of an overdose. She knows too well the pain many families in Regina are experiencing this year with a rash of overdose deaths.

“My grandmother raised us very close, so it’s like you’re losing an arm, or you’re losing a brother or a sister,” Shore told CTV News Regina.

Shore says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to isolation for many people battling addictions and she feels that’s contributed to the rise in overdose deaths in the city this year.

Shore overcame addiction herself and wants people to be aware of the struggles people go through everyday.

“It’s a lot of hurt,” she said. “I find a lot of value in education and awareness and that’s where I’m at, I really want people to be aware that this going on in community and what can we do about it in community.”

In a 36-hour span over Canada Day this week, there were six overdose deaths in Regina, according to the Regina Police Service. There have been 451 overdoses and 24 deaths to date in 2020.

Police say they expect that number to continue to rise.

“This isn’t just a police problem, this is a community event, it’s been talked about that this is an epidemic and I would agree, this is something that is having a great impact on our community,” RPS Acting Chief Dean Rae told reporters on Thursday.

“We need to really be empathetic and be supportive and get away from the stigma and discrimination that people who use face in the community,” Shore added.

Shore has a Naloxone kit and believes anyone that knows someone struggling with addiction should get one.

“I just really encourage community members and family members to take action and get your hands on a kit, you never know, you can help save a life,” Shore said.