Free Take Home Naloxone kits are available at more than 1,600 locations around the province. Photo: James Hellman MD

Free Take Home Naloxone kits are available at more than 1,600 locations around the province. Photo: James Hellman MD

Free Take Home Naloxone kits save thousands of lives

More than 50,000 kits have been used in B.C. to reverse opioid overdoses

More than 50,000 kits containing the life-saving medication naloxone have been used to reverse opioid overdoses in B.C. Since the program started in 2012, 175,022 naloxone kits have been distributed to people who use drugs and those who are likely to witness an overdose through the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) Take Home Naloxone program.

The program launched in 2012 and was scaled up in 2016 in response to the overdose public health emergency. Between 2012 and 2015, 5,073 kits were distributed, and since 2016 there have been 169,949 kits given out.

It’s expected that the total number of kits used to reverse an overdose is far greater than the 50,000 reported. The Take Home Naloxone program does not receive data about every kit distributed in the province.

The free kits are available throughout the province, and there are currently 1,678 active distribution sites, including more than 700 community pharmacies. Other Take Home Naloxone distribution sites include hospitals and emergency departments, health units and health centres, community sites, corrections facilities, peer-led organizations, paramedics with BC Emergency Health Services, housing sites, friendship centres, post-secondary institutions, and treatment facilities.

People who use drugs are often the first on the scene of an overdose and play a critical role in administering naloxone to save their peers. The Take Home Naloxone program is collaborating with partners to explore novel ways of making the life-saving medication more accessible to people who are likely to witness an overdose.

BCCDC is working with BC Emergency Health Services so paramedics responding to an overdose can provide replacement kits to community members who have used their kit. BC Emergency Health Services paramedics respond to an average of 64 overdose or poisoning calls per day in B.C.; community paramedics also distribute naloxone to patients in their homes or during health information sessions.

“I’ve been a naloxone trainer for three years and I’ve trained students, foster parents, parole officers, and people of the community,” says Paul Choisil, harm reduction leader, peer mentor, and Take Home Naloxone trainer at the Robert & Lilly Lee Community Health Centre and a naloxone trainer at Vancouver Detox. “Everyone who might witness an overdose should carry a naloxone kit because it’s a lifesaving tool. I strongly believe every life matters in our community. Too many have died already. You can also make a difference; kits are free.”

BCCDC also advises people who use drugs to get trained in overdose response and pick up a Take Home Naloxone kit, regardless of how they choose to consume, as new research reveals that people who smoke or snort drugs are half as likely to carry life-saving naloxone medication.

“We are dealing with a toxic illegal drug supply,” says Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Having a kit and knowing how to use it can save a life. In fact, we know that thanks to the heroic efforts of so many, thousands of lives have been saved. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who works tirelessly on the frontlines to train, teach, and administer naloxone.”

A map showing sites where the free Take Home Naloxone kits can be obtained is at https://towardtheheart.com/site-finder.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual Internet speeds in BC communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Fiery crash on the Okanagan Connector between two semis. (Facebook)
One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

Most Read