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

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Hecht Beach cabin in ashes. (Submitted)
Beloved secret cabin lost to fire on the North Island’s west coast

The trappers cabin was shared with locals, but kept mostly secret

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farms seek court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

Michelle Lau with donations that have already been contributed for families kept away from home due to the Town Park Apartments fire. (Zoe Ducklow Photo)
Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire

Tenants not allowed back in to get personal items, so in need of clothes, food, gift cards

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Most Read