Take home Naloxone kits are now available at the Northern Addictions Centre in Grande Prairie. Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse a fentanyl overdose, of which 272 people died in Alberta last year. Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Services Doctor Nicholas Etches the kits are essentially the EpiPens for opioid overdoses.
“What’s really important in terms of making Naloxone effective is that the Naloxone kit is available at the time and at the location where someone overdoses. So that’s why it’s so important for us to get as many out into the community and into the hands of the people that are at risk of overdoses.”
The province first started rolling out Naloxone kits in July 2015, when 100 were shipped up to HIV North in Grande Prairie. Etches says they’ve seen success with the program so far.
“We’re definitely getting stories of people letting us know that they’ve used a kit and the person’s life was saved; they were able to successfully reverse the overdose and get that person into care. We really do want to emphasize that anyone who is using fentanyl or other opioids or is planning to, you are at risk of overdose.
The kits are free and come with instructions of how and when to administer the drug. Users should then call 9-1-1 for medical treatment.