RADAR project coordinator Rebecca Thomas
Project Coordinator, Illicit Drug Overdose Response
How long have you worked at VCH?
Tell us what you do at VCH in one or two sentences:
As the Overdose Project Coordinator, I
- support VCH Take Home Naloxone and Facility Overdose Response Box sites
- organize overdose response training (for clients/staff)
- organize naloxone supply distribution for VCH, non-profits, Powell Street Getaway supervised injection service, and Overdose Prevention Sites.
I was the Research Assistant, and am now Project Coordinator for RADAR, a communications system which sends real-time drug alerts through text messaging and online surveys, which we launched this week. Anyone, like people who use substances, can report overdose events by texting “bad dope” to (236) 999-DOPE (3673) or by completing this online form. Texting “alert” to (236) 999-DOPE (3673) will deliver regular notifications about contaminated substances.
Find out more about RADAR
We also just added new resources about the overdose emergency response for VCH staff on VCH Connect. Visit the page to find info about: naloxone training, take-home naloxone kits, ordering harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention sites, and accessing opioid agonist therapy.
What’s your favourite thing about your work?
Within the first week of my new position, our team helped coordinate a naloxone training event for over 200 people in the DTES. It was so incredible how our brand new team came together and worked together so effortlessly. I also had the chance to work with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) and VCH peers all day, who are all so amazing. I always have such a fun time collaborating with them.
Which True North goal does your work contribute to the most?
Promote better health for our communities
One thing we might be surprised to learn about you:
I have a black belt in Taekwondo! I also try to kick box as much as I can.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by my supervisors and colleagues from the BCCDC and VCH. They are so knowledgeable about harm reduction principles and the upstream factors of health, and are always taking things in stride no matter how many setbacks they are faced with in this public health crisis.
Most healthy habit:
I drink a lot of water.
Favourite vacation spot:
I would always love to go back to Hawaii or Hong Kong.
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