by Morinville News Staff

Almost 300 pharmacies have signed on to provide take-home naloxone kits and train people to use them safely. The government announced Wednesday approximately 1,100 of the province’s pharmacies are eligible to participate in the voluntary program.

The government says Naloxone can temporarily reverse an overdose of fentanyl or other opioids, allowing time to get emergency medical help. Opioid users can obtain a take-home naloxone kit, so it is on hand for a family member or friend to administer in case of a potentially deadly overdose.

There were 272 overdose deaths involving fentanyl in Alberta in 2015, more than double the deaths in 2014.

“This is just one of the steps our government is taking to address the devastating impact fentanyl is having in our province,” said Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health, adding the highly toxic drug is being used by people from all walks of life and a variety of age groups. “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.”

Alberta Health Services is providing the kits at a cost of about $27 each, including supplies and distribution. Each kit contains two units of naloxone, two syringes, two alcohol swabs, two latex gloves, a one-way breathing mask, and instructions.

Jimy Mathews, President of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, applauded the news.

“Alberta’s pharmacists play a vital role in health care in our province and are well-positioned to provide take-home naloxone kits to Albertans, who are at risk,” he said. “Our members know very well how dangerous illicit fentanyl is, and how important it is that people have immediate access to naloxone.”

The kits are available to Albertans with a valid prescription from their doctor or a participating pharmacist. Naloxone is also available at 44 walk-in clinics and eight harm reduction sites across the province by prescription.

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