It was then that he decided to go back to school and train as an addictions counsellor, in an attempt to save lives.
On the way, he has seen how dire the situation is in Hamilton.
“I’ve had multiple clients die over the last couple of years because of opioids,” he said.
According to the latest available city statistics, 52 Hamilton residents died from opioid toxicity last year, which is a death rate 48 per cent higher than the provincial average.
For the week of Nov. 13 to 19 alone, 58 people sought care at Hamilton emergency departments for drug misuse or overdoses, the city says. The city is now exploring the idea of a supervised injection site, where people could inject drugs without fear of legal consequences, and under the care of medical professionals.
“The reality is it affects everyone from stay at home moms to musicians,” Piva said. “Addiction affects everybody.”
‘It’s a different world’
Monday’s event, which is co-hosted by Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres, will include naloxone training. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that was first developed in the 1960s. When injected into a person who is overdosing, it can reverse the effects of prescription opiates for about 10 minutes, which is long enough to get them to hospital.
The event is being hosted at This Ain’t Hollywood, but the club hasn’t had any overdoses happen inside, said co-owner Lou Molinaro. Still, he said, staff and the broader music community as a whole should be prepared just in case.