Southwestern Public Health took its opioid fight to the streets Thursday with front-line public health workers providing free naloxone training to passers-by in downtown St. Thomas, Ont.

The idea is to increase overdose awareness, and let people know that training is readily available to anyone who wants it.

The health unit also launched a new program that gets businesses onboard in fighting overdoses.

Local businesses with staff trained in administering naloxone are being provided with naloxone kits to keep on hand.

They’re also being given a sticker to place in the window which lets people know, particularly anyone who may be in distress, that help is close by.

“We really want to get the message out there that overdoses are preventable and they’re happening in our community - and so naloxone is a very well tolerated medication,” said Public Health Nurse Emily Hanley. “ Training is very quick, and it’s very effective at reversing an overdose.”

International Overdose Awareness Day is Saturday, Aug. 31.