Fifty-eight year-old Surrey resident Doug Nickerson has saved many lives, thanks to his ever-present naloxone kit.
Doug Nickerson, a 58-year old resident of Surrey, has been the right man at the right time on hundreds of occasions, thanks to a naloxone kit he wears on his belt.
Nickerson, who is known as “Little Doug” to friends, has reversed 113 overdoses over the last four years in and around an area in Whalley that many have called “the Downtown Eastside of Surrey.” Nickerson who is homeless himself, has lived experience in “the strip” on 135a Ave between 106 Ave and 108 Ave. He has been working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), a government agency, as one of their ‘harm reduction heroes.’
Some of these experiences have stood out more than others, according to Nickerson.
“I went to visit a friend one night and this couple went out and bought some heroin,” said Nickerson in a statement.
“They came back, did it, and overdosed simultaneously.”
Nickerson remembered another occasion in which he brought back 12 people who had taken cocaine mixed with fentanyl. On still another occasion, he managed to revive a 16-year old girl who had overdosed.
“He is one of the ‘Harm Reduction Heroes’ of BC’s Take Home Naloxone Program,” said Dr. Jane Buxton, program lead at the BCCDC.
“The purpose of the program is to ensure there is a supply of naloxone in the community where overdoses are happening, empowering people so they can help prevent opioid overdose deaths. Doug embodies that and shows how community members truly care about each other.”
Surrey recently set up two overdose prevention sites, including one behind the Gateway Shelter, bordering “the strip.”
Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is the most common antidote to opioid drugs such as heroin, methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl. It does not have any effect on other substances, such as cocaine, but the BCCDC advises its use for treatment of overdoses of these substances as well, as they are often laced with fentanyl.
The Take Home Naloxone program has distributed 18,703 kits and has trained 16,464 people in administering naloxone since 2012.
Author: Stu Neatby