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Naloxone: Preventing Overdose, Saving Lives

Take Home Naloxone kit

We hope to increase public awareness and accessibility to the overdose-reversing medication, naloxone. 

Opioid Overdose in BC

Opioid overdose (OD) is a public health concern in BC. In 2011, BC Coroner’s Service reported 275 deaths were attributed to drug overdose, a cluster of which were associated with high purity heroin. In 2009, it was reported that 70 deaths were attributed to prescription opioid medication. Even overdoses that do not lead to death can cause lifelong harms from the lack of oxygen to the brain.

Part of the Solution: Naloxone (also known as Narcan®)

Naloxone is an opioid-blocking drug that has been used to quickly reverse heroin, morphine, OxyContin®, and other opioid overdoses. It is a safe drug with minimal side effects and has been approved for use in emergency settings in Canada for over 40 years. In 2011, the BC ambulance service administered the life-saving medication 2,367 times.

A small bottle has the power to save lives

Now, people in BC who are at risk of opioid overdose may take part in the BC Take Home Naloxone (THN) program to receive training and their own naloxone kit. Because the majority of overdoses happen within the company of others, a take home naloxone program greatly increases the potential for action in those critical minutes before paramedics arrive.

By working together we can decrease morbidity and mortality related to opioid overdose. Find out how you can take part in the BC pilot program.

Naloxone has been used to successfully reverse opioid overdoses in thousands of people around the world.

In the UK, people who have used opioids and are released from prison are given naloxone. The US has over 180 Take Home Naloxone (THN) programs, and many places have best practice policies that support co-prescribing naloxone with any opioid. In Canada, Edmonton’s Streetworks was the trailblazer in 2005. Toronto started a program in 2011 and has disseminated 400 kits in the first year with 42 opioid overdose reversals! Ontario started a provincial initiative in 2012.

THN programs are also worldwide in Estonia, Russia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Australia and Africa.

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