FORGE Day 2 was practical and impactful. The first half of the Saturday morning was spent learning about Naloxone. Naloxone kits are used for people who overdose, and have saved many. Marty, who was teaching us about Naloxone, said that in July there were 135 deaths in BC associated with overdose. Overdosing is an ongoing public health concern, and since many of the people that NightShift serves are using, it was definitely useful to learn about.

Naloxone is an antidote for an opioid overdose, and does not work for a non-opioid overdose. Opioids are drugs that are used to manage pain, and they often slow the body down or cause sleepiness. The Naloxone kit contains gloves, alcohol prep wipes, 3 needles, and Naloxone. Our group practiced by injecting water into oranges, which was kind of fun, but scary at the same time imagining administering it to someone in real life. My hands were extremely shaky, and I was wondering if I would be capable of actually doing this if it came down to it. Then, a member of the group said something that changed my perspective. “Our moment of fear is so minimal compared to their moments of fear.” After that, I felt thankful that I had access to the tools to help someone in such a terrible situation.

The second half of our Saturday morning together was spent hearing from Trisha Baptie. Trisha shared her heart wrenching story of how growing up with an abusive father changed the trajectory of her life. Dropping out of school in grade 6, the only way she knew how to make money was through prostitution. So, this is what Trisha did over the course of many years. She had 5 children along the way. To support them, she would work during the night and be a mother to them during the day. After meeting a kind woman who worked with Trinity Western University one night while she was on the street, she built a relationship that ended up changing her life. This woman encouraged her to leave prostitution and orchestrate a better life and future for herself and her children. She gave Trisha an immense amount of support along the way. Now, Trisha works to empower women to live violence and exploitation free through her organization called EVE. She aims at decriminalizing people selling sex in hopes of protecting these women. When sharing about her job, she said that these women “honour me with giving me their story to keep. I share their truth to inform policy.”

Trisha’s work in informing policy around prostitution and sex trafficking left me awestruck. Considering she is a woman with grade 6 education and a past filled with abuse, she overcame all obstacles to get where she is today. I left FORGE day 2 feeling empowered and inspired, and I’m excited to see what the next two days will bring!

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