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Shortage of naloxone kits in B.C. due to production problem

Naloxone with needle and kit in background.
May 30, 2016 - 10:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - The province is facing a backlog in the production of drug kits used to stop illicit opiate overdoses.

Health minister Terry Lake says it’s not a shortage of naloxone that’s causing the backlog, but building the kits that go with it. Naloxone is the drug used to treat people overdosing on heroin, fentanyl or other illicitly used opiate drugs.

“It doesn’t appear to be a shortage in the actual naloxone itself,” he says. “It’s just a matter of putting the kits together, managing the ordering, delivering and processing.”

Lake says it’s been caused by the increased usage of take home kits. 

Bob Hughes, executive director of the ASK Wellness Society in Kamloops, says he's seen the shortage of kits reflected in the community, with street nurses and pharmacies sometimes without them.

He says it wouldn’t cost much for his organization to put together the kits, about $15 including the naloxone. Along with the drug, the kits contain a syringe, mouth guard and latex gloves

Hughes says the organization already assembles harm reduction kits distributed at their outreach centre.

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