THUNDER BAY, ON, June 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Over 200 000 residents in Northwestern Ontario will have free access to vital drug-related emergencies, and mental health and wellness information with the launch of Lifeguard Digital Health’s overdose prevention Lifeguard App on June 23rd, 2021.
NorWest Community Health Centres, with the support of The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board is the first in Canada to partner with Lifeguard Digital Health, after the successful launch of the Lifeguard App in BC last year.
As part of NorWest’s comprehensive response to the overdose crisis, the Lifeguard App supports people who use drugs with a direct link to emergency responders if an overdose occurs. The Lifeguard App also provides life-saving information for communities to help each other, including alerts on local supply contaminants, a Naloxone guide, CPR instructions, locations of supervised injection sites, opioid treatments, detox services, drug testing facilities and more.
"Since the Lifeguard App trials and launch in 2020, it has been successfully activated over 50,000 times and saved 33 lives in BC from accidental overdoses and deaths from drug toxicity," says Lifeguard DH Founder and CEO Jeff Hardy. "Our hope is that through Lifeguard’s partnership with NorWest Community Health Centres and The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board we can effect positive change and start saving lives immediately in Northwestern Ontario."
The Lifeguard App is activated by the user before they take their dose, with a one-minute timer. The alarm time can be extended up to five minutes but if the user fails to hit the stop button, the alarm will grow louder until a text-to-voice call goes to emergency medical dispatchers alerting them of a potential overdose. This crucial connection to Emergency Medical Services can be the difference between life and death. The Lifeguard App also connects users with residential recovery programs and residential treatment programs.
"Lifeguard gives power and respect back to individuals who use drugs," says Kyle Arnold, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker at NorWest Community Health Centres. "It recognizes that people use alone and also the need for the community to respond without stigma during times of crisis or in case of overdose."
Wayne Gates, Chief of Superior North Emergency Medical Services says, "Superior North EMS is pleased to support NorWest Community Health Centres in launching the Lifeguard App. This initiative will improve critical access to supports and ultimately help to save lives. Lifeguard is a positive step forward, increasing safety and protecting members of our community."
Bill Bradica, CAO of TBDSSAB, says, "We are pleased to support NorWest Community Health Centre in launching this important, life-saving initiative to protect members of our community."
TBDSSAB’s financial support for this initiative is part of one-time funding provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Health through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
About Lifeguard Digital Health
Lifeguard Digital Health creates digital health solutions (applications) that reduce harm, prevent involuntary deaths, and improve quality of life. The company integrates technology innovations on its evan platform, including artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), permission blockchain, and informatics. Complying with the highest levels of security and privacy regulations, it works closely with health authorities and emergency health services. For more information, please visit www.lifeguarddh.com
About NorWest Community Health Centres
NWCHC delivers primary health care along with allied health services in the City and District of Thunder Bay. NWCHC’s mission is to respond to individual and local community needs by providing a range of services that will improve the health and well-being of people and their communities. NWCHC’s aim is to improve accessibility through holistic, integrated and comprehensive care for those facing systemic barriers to accessing services, including Indigenous and racialized communities. Its priority populations are individuals experiencing health disparities. For more information please visit www.norwestchc.org
About The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) is the service system manager for Child Care and Early Years programs, Community Housing, the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and manages delivery of Ontario Works for the District of Thunder Bay. For more information, please visit www.tbdssab.ca
SOURCE Lifeguard Digital Health