AHS expands availability of naloxone kits to reverse fentanyl overdoses
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:59PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 17, 2016 6:29PM MST
The province is taking steps to help prevent overdoses from a deadly drug that is killing unsuspecting users and has now issued hundreds of naloxone kits to Alberta pharmacies.
"This is just one of the steps our government is taking to address the devastating impact fentanyl is having in our province. The highly toxic drug is being used by people from many different age groups and from all walks of life – from our inner cities to our suburban communities. By making naloxone kits available at pharmacies, we’re expanding the availability of these kits, so they’re within closer reach of Albertans at risk,” said Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health.
“The idea is when someone overdoes, there's a naloxone kit nearby with someone that's trained in its use and that we know saves lives,” said Dr. Nick Etches, AHS Medical Officer of Health.
Alberta Health Services says 272 people died in the province last year from fentanyl and that the kits can be used to temporarily reverse an overdose and give the person more time to seek medical attention.
The kits are free to anyone with a prescription and opioid users can take them home for a friend or family member to administer if an overdose occurs.
So far almost 300 pharmacies have signed up for the program and each kit costs about $27 and contains two units of naloxone, two syringes, alcohol swabs, latex gloves, a breathing mask and instructions.
“This is another positive step in preventing fentanyl deaths. We know naloxone saves lives. Having it available in pharmacies means more Albertans using illicit fentanyl have a chance to have an overdose temporarily reversed and get medical help,” said Dr. Francois Belanger, Vice President Quality & Chief Medical Officer (Acting), Alberta Health Services
AHS says naloxone is also available by prescription at 44 walk-in clinics and eight harm reduction sites across Alberta.
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