Victoria-based Gaëlle Nicolussi makes ‘I carry naloxone’ buttons to help raise awareness about the opioid crisis. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)

Reducing harm with ‘I carry naloxone’ buttons

Victoria-based designer makes buttons with social justice messages

With more than 1,100 overdose deaths across B.C. so far this year, one Victoria woman is taking small steps to help harm reduction efforts.

Gaëlle Nicolussi is the creator behind Radical Buttons, a Victoria-based Etsy shop that makes buttons with social justice messages. Her most popular include “End mental health stigma” and “Smash the patriarchy.”

After three years in business, Nicolussi launched a new button design on Nov. 15: “I carry naloxone.”

“I have a friend who is an outreach worker who gave me a sticker that said ‘naloxone’ on it because I carry a kit with me everywhere, so it’s nice to let people know I have that on me,” said Nicolussi. She decided to make a permanent version for everyday use.

Nicolussi has been carrying a kit for eight months, since taking the naloxone training with AID Vancouver Island through her work as a research associate for substance use at the University of Victoria. Then in August, she was trained again at Centennial Square during the International Overdose Awareness Day. She’s taken the training twice this year so that if she ever witnesses an overdose, she’s ready to help.

WATCH MORE: How to use naloxone to stop a fentanyl overdose

“I think buttons are a great way not only to raise awareness, but to start a conversation about the opioid crisis, how it is affecting our community and how we as individuals can do something to help,” Nicolussi said.

Her buttons do more than spread a message: they also identify someone in case of an emergency, when there isn’t much time to react. So far in 2018, an average of 127 people in B.C. have died from overdoses per month, with 74 total cases in Victoria.

So far, Radical Buttons has sold around 30 buttons.

At $3 each, part of the proceeds from the “I carry naloxone” buttons will go to AIDS Vancouver Island, where Nicolussi said she plans to donate dozens of buttons for their harm reduction workers.

Naloxone training can be found at towardtheheart.com.

READ MORE: B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

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