Earlier this week, the B.C. government announced that free take-home naloxone kits are now available to opioid users (or people likely to witness an overdose) at hundreds of pharmacies across the province.
Around 1,900 of these kits have now been distributed to 220 pharmacies inside London Drugs and Save-on-Foods branches (and to several independent pharmacies) just in time to save lives during the holiday season.
To get one of these kits, users must go to a participating pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist who will determine their eligibility to receive it. Identifying information about the person getting the kit will not be tracked, to ensure privacy.
According to a Global News report, the participating pharmacies will also provide training on how to recognize and respond to an overdose.
An expansion of the existing program
The government’s press release states that the measure is an expansion of the Take Home Naloxone program which makes these kits available for free at harm-reduction sites, local health units, emergency rooms, corrections facilities, and First Nations sites.
The move to make overdose prevention methods available at pharmacies is part of the NDP government’s $322-million initiative to tackle the province’s overdose crisis.
A new partnership between the BC Pharmacy Association and the BC Centre for Disease Control has been allocated $2-million of this fund per year, as part of the decision to increase access to naloxone.
“Take-home naloxone kits are a key harm-reduction measure in our multi-pronged approach to combat the overdose crisis and have saved countless lives,” said Dr. Jane Buxton, BC Centre for Disease Control harm reduction lead.
“Through this new collaboration, naloxone will now be readily available at more locations, making it easier for people to look out for each other and be safer.”