NALOX­ONE KITS AVAIL­ABLE

At some phar­ma­cies as well as Ally Cen­tre.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN ni­cole.sul­li­van@cb­post.com

Even though the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment isn’t cur­rently cov­er­ing the costs of take-home nalox­one kits there are still many places to buy the kits in Cape Bre­ton.

Nalox­one is an ef­fec­tive drug for stop­ping the res­pi­ra­tory fail­ure that oc­curs when hav­ing an opi­oid over­dose and is ef­fec­tive in sav­ing lives.

Peo­ple want­ing the kits have to be trained be­fore they can buy one. This train­ing in­cludes how to use the kit and what do when you see an over­dose and is done at the site of pur­chase.

The Ally Cen­tre of Cape Bre­ton is one place to get a nalox­one kit at no charge — anony­mously.

Part of a pi­lot project in 2016, the Ally Cen­tre was given 300 of the kits to dis­trib­ute to drug users and peo­ple at risk. Now, thanks to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s new opi­oid strat­egy, any­one can get it.

“Be­cause of the new opi­oid strat­egy an­nounced by the prov­ince, we were able to hire a per­son to do the nalox­one train­ing,” said Chris­tine Porter, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ally Cen­tre.

“The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has broad­ened the ac­cess to nalox­one. Be­fore, it was for peo­ple who were us­ing opioids, or who have used opioids, or are on methadone. Now it’s for fam­ily, friends, any­body who could come in con­tact with folks who they may be able to save their lives.”

Phar­ma­cies have been able to hand out the nalox­one kit with­out a pre­scrip­tion since Au­gust 2016 and many in Cape Bre­ton have them.

They aren’t free; the cost is be­tween $50-$70 for the kit with train­ing and about $30 for the kit af­ter train­ing is com­pleted.

Tyler Kraupp, phar­macy op­er­a­tions man­ager for five Phar­masave drug stores in the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, thinks the cost is keep­ing peo­ple from get­ting the kits.

“Right now, as far as I know, none of our phar­ma­cies have dis­pensed them, be­cause they are a bit pricey,” he said, con­firm­ing the stores he man­ages got the kits as soon as they were avail­able with­out a pre­scrip­tion.

“A lot of our stores do methadone so we thought it was ap­pro­pri­ate to have them, just in case,” Kraupp ex­plained.

New guide­lines from the Col­lege of Phar­ma­cists dic­tates all phar­ma­cies that have methadone clin­ics must have nalox­one kits for sale and Kraupp thinks this, plus the prov­ince mak­ing the kits free, will help in­crease ac­cess to the life-sav­ing drug.

“If a con­cerned par­ent came in and said, ‘I think my son or daugh­ter is a drug user,’ we would give it to them. We just need to train them first. We will give them to any­one. They don’t have to be a user,” he said.

“If the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is cov­er­ing the cost, I think it will im­prove ac­cess and avail­abil­ity to peo­ple who need them and I think that is a good thing.”

By Sept. 1, the prov­ince will be cov­er­ing the costs of all nalox­one kits and train­ing done by 300 phar­ma­cies provincewide.

Porter is “grate­ful” to see the prov­ince tak­ing ac­tion against the opi­oid cri­sis.

“It’s a long road ahead of us, I fear. You know, fen­tanyl is here, in what amounts I don’t know. But we’ve been in an opi­oid cri­sis since 2003 in Cape Bre­ton. Fen­tanyl, that is just the tip of the ice­berg,” she said.

“We have big prob­lems here in Cape Bre­ton. We have to pull to­gether as a com­mu­nity — physi­cians, law en­force­ment, com­mu­nity groups and ev­ery­body that is im­pacted by this, to get things mov­ing, so we can save lives.”

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

A nalox­one kit has every­thing you need to help some­one who is suf­fer­ing from an opi­oid over­dose. In­side are a pair of pro­tec­tive gloves, a pro­tec­tive mask, two shots of the drug, and a nee­dle for in­ject­ing into the thigh. Train­ing must be done be­fore you can get a kit and this train­ing can be done where kits are avail­able.

Porter

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