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)

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 urges compassion after being confronted while saving overdose victim

RN has saved three people’s lives in eight months

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 ignorance 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

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

B.C. overdosesGreater Victoria’s opioid crisisopioid addictionopioid crisisoverdose

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

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Cases continue to climb in B.C amid a third wave of COVID-19. (Omar Marques/AP photo)
Physicians of Golden warn of third wave

Cases continue to climb provincially

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 centimetres of snow on the Coquihalla Highway Friday, April 9, 2021. (File photo)
Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 cm of snow to fall on the Coquihalla Friday

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

The Royal’s 1951 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

Nolan's Pharmasave in downtown Vernon received 200 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines Friday, April 9, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
AstraZeneca vaccines arrive at Vernon pharmacies

Four pharmacies in the city received doses of the COVID-19 inoculant Friday

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on Thursday, April 8. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

An East Hill resident had their leaf bags torched in front of their home overnight April 8. Less than two weeks prior their garbage can was lit on fire too. (Taryn Allen photo)
Garbage, leaf fires spark fear in North Okanagan

First an East Hill residents’ trash can, then bagged leaves were lit on fire

Okanagan-based All Are Family Outreach Society, which provides support to those struggling from Armstrong to Kelowna, is in need of a new headquarters after leaving a Winfield church in June 2020. (All Are Family Outreach photo)
Okanagan outreach society in ‘desperate’ need after storage unit break-in

All Are Family Outreach had $4,000 in tools stolen from its donation shipping container

A $45,000 grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation (SCF) will allow the SAFE Society’s Transition House to construct three indoor heated and cooled dog kennels with access to an outdoor run for each dog. From left, Lindsay Wong, SCF; Paige Hilland, SAFE Society; Jaylene Bourdon, SAFE Society; Jane Shirley, SAFE Socity; Ineke Hughes, SCF; Judy Moore, SCF; with dogs Tulah and Loki. (Contributed)
Grant to support women with pets in Salmon Arm transition house

Shuswap Community Foundation gives largest grant ever to build shelter, abusers often target pets

Most Read