August 08, 2016 - 12:30 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – More than 70 new sites in the Southern Interior are now able to administer the life-saving opiate overdose drug.
All Interior Health emergency departments, public health centres, mental health and substance use offices as well as some community agencies have been equipped with a naloxone kit as part of the Interior Health Authority overdose emergency response, according to a media release.
Health Minister Terry Lake says drug-related overdoses are a huge concern.
“Interior Health’s expansion of the Take Home Naloxone program could potentially save the life of someone’s friend, parent or child,” he says in the release. “It is part of B.C.’s comprehensive approach to address this crisis and to do everything we can prevent future tragedies.”
Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose by restoring breathing within two to five minutes, the release says.
"It improves the chances of survival while waiting for medical help to arrive," the release states. "Naloxone is a safe medication that cannot be abused and has no effect on the body in the absence of opioids. It is non-addictive, does not produce a high and has no street value."
The Take Home Naloxone Program also provides training on prevention as well as how to recognize and respond to an overdose.
“The training also offers practical overdose prevention tips such as always starting with a small amount of the drug, avoid mixing different drugs, and avoid using alone,” the release says. “Crucial life-saving steps including recognizing the signs of an overdose, putting someone in the recovery position, how to perform rescue breathing, and administer naloxone as well as the importance of getting emergency medical help as soon as possible are also covered.”
The news comes just months after a behind-the-scenes series of emails between agencies was released that shows the debate over the value of the program, and appears to favour decriminilization as a better alternative to an epidemic that only continues to grow across the province.
Approximately 1,670 naloxone kits have been distributed across the Interior Health region since August 2012. The release says at least 180 kits have been used to reverse an overdose.
The kits are also available for sale at all local pharmacies without a prescription.
A list of Take Home Naloxone sites is available on the Interior Health website.
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