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 asks for compassion after people shout at him for saving an overdose victim

RN has saved three people’s lives in eight months

  • Dec. 17, 2019 5:00 a.m.

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 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

B.C. overdosesopioid addictionopioid crisisoverdose

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

Just Posted

Coroner called to workplace death in Victoria

VicPD says traffic impacts expected in 800-block Government Street and adjacent roads

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

VicPD seeking help in recovering stolen scooter of B.C. Special Olympics athlete

The scooter was stolen from outside Hillside Mall on Sept.21

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read