The B.C. government is making overdose-reversing naloxone kits more readily available for residents across the province, free of charge.
About 1,900 kits have been distributed to 220 pharmacies for the first time this month, addictions minister Judy Darcy announced Wednesday.
“Our most urgent priority is to keep people alive, so we’re dramatically expanding easy access to naloxone,” she said.
The expansion program will allow pharamcists to also train those interested on how to use the kit, as well as detect an overdose.
BC Coroners stats show that 1,400 lives are expected to be lost to opioid-related fatalities by the end of 2017.
The no-cost kits are now available at pharmacies located within London Drugs and Save-on-Foods, as well as others, for people who use opioids or are likely to witness and respond to an overdose.
To ensure privacy, identifying information about the person receiving the kit is not tracked.
Access to harm-reduction tools is one of the key pillars in the province’s response to combating the overdose crisis – and pharmacies can play a big role in ridding the barrier to accessing the life-saving kits, said Geraldine Vance, BC Pharmacy Association chief executive officer.
“Pharmacists are trained, experienced and knowledgeable, not only in medication but in providing an essential health-care service to our patients and to our community,” Vance said.
More to come.