Ever since Pokemon Go came out, people have been hitting the streets searching for the coolest characters and taking over gyms! But what you might not expect to find is someone in need of help. One Vancouver Pokemon Go player actually saved someone from overdosing last week all because she was playing the game. Here’s what happened.
Juls Budau, who works in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, was out playing Pokemon Go in Prince George, B.C. just one week ago when the shocking incident occurred. While things were off to a normal start, Budau found a man in distress and suffering from an overdose.
According to an interview with CBC News, last week, Budau was in her car at a PokeStop outside of the Fort George Baptist Church in Prince George. Alongside her was her young nephew and dog, Teddy.
As the two reaped the rewards of the PokeStop, Budau noticed a man had collapsed in the alley nearby. At the time, several people were trying to help him.
Fast-acting Budau told CBC News that she leaped out of her car to help. According to Budau, the man was unconscious, turning blue, and struggling to breathe. It seemed as though the man was suffering from an overdoes.
Thankfully, Budau had been carrying a naloxone kit in her purse for several years just in case something were to happen. After she injected him the first time, the man gasped. This is when she used a second needle.
Shortly after the life-saving acts, paramedics arrived on scene and took over.
At the time, Budau was oddly enough on medical leave from her frontline social service job in Vancouver Downtown Eastside due to the stress of "dealing with too many overdoses and deaths.” Budau told CBC News that she has responded to about 20 overdoses while on the job.
The hero now believes that Pokemon Go players can learn something from this incident. Budau has suggested that carrying naloxone when visiting Poke stops could help reduce overdose deaths.
While some people are applauding her actions, others are concerned that carrying a naloxone kit and visiting these Poke stops could be dangerous.
Overdose-related deaths have become an epidemic in B.C. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, there were 23,161 people who experienced a drug-related overdose between 2015 and 2017 in BC. Of those incidents, 3,604 were fatal.
In March of 2019, there were 82 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in BC where fentanyl was detected. It is estimated that 85% of drug overdose deaths in BC alone contain this horribly toxic drug.
Drug-related overdoses have become such a problem in B.C. that Canadian health officials sent out warnings to the public about horribly toxic drugs found at music festivals this summer. The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health website states that fentanyl is so powerful, that it is up to 100 times stronger than any other opioids like codeine or morphine.
Earlier this year, Surrey actually went into an “overdose alert” after 12 overdoses occurred within a 24 hour period.
Due to a large number of overdoses, B.C. officials actually recommended legally regulating heroin sales. This proposed heroin compassion club for fentanyl-addicted users will provide people access to non-fentanyl altered heroin.
The goal of this program would be two-fold and would attempt to reduce overdose deaths along with undercutting organized crime and profits that come from the unregulated fentanyl market.