Coun­cil ex­pected to re­visit nalox­one pro­gram

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - ELLIOT FER­GU­SON

A mo­tion that would au­tho­rize nalox­one kits to be dis­trib­uted to city-owned fa­cil­i­ties, and pro­vide staff with train­ing to use them, will likely be back be­fore coun­cil in early Novem­ber.

City coun­cil last week de­ferred a vote on the plan, in part be­cause of con­cern about ask­ing city staff to ad­min­is­ter the drug.

Nalox­one is a med­i­ca­tion, de­liv­ered through a nasal spray or in­jec­tion, that can tem­po­rar­ily re­verse an over­dose caused by opi­oid drugs, in­clud­ing hy­dro­mor­phone, oxy­codone, fen­tanyl, car­fen­tanyl, mor­phine and heroin.

Pub­lic health of­fi­cials were call­ing for the city to make nalox­one kits more read­ily avail­able as part of an ef­fort to com­bat opi­oid over­doses.

“We’re in dis­cus­sions with the city now and hop­ing to make more progress and dis­cuss it more at the Nov. 7 meet­ing,” said Fa­reen Karachi­walla, as­so­ci­ate med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health with Kingston, Fron­tenac and Len­nox and Ad­ding­ton Pub­lic Health.

“Our un­der­stand­ing in fol­lowup dis­cus­sions with peo­ple is that the in­tent of that dis­tri­bu­tion is there and peo­ple are sup­port­ive in prin­ci­pal,” Karachi­walla said. “It was more a mat­ter of get­ting a sense of the de­tails and lo­gis­tics and what is in­volved.

“Part of it is about defin­ing the scope a lit­tle bit more, so try­ing to fig­ure out where is the best lo­ca­tion to lo­cate it and how and what kinds of checks and bal­ances would be in place,” she added.

Fen­tanyl can be up to 100 times more toxic than mor­phine, and it and the re­lated but much more po­tent car­fen­tanyl have been de­tected in other drugs, and even trace amounts of those drugs can cause a fa­tal over­dose, Kieran Moore, the med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health for Kingston, Fron­tenac and Len­nox and Ad­ding­ton Pub­lic Health, said.

“There has never been a more dan­ger­ous time to take drugs,” he told coun­cil.

In the south­east part of On­tario, 74 peo­ple have died from over­doses linked to fen­tanyl, Moore said.

The use of nalox­one to counter the ef­fects of an opi­oid over­dose has saved about 140 peo­ple in re­cent months, he added.

On­tario’s 36 pub­lic health units each re­ceived an ad­di­tional $150,000 to sup­port lo­cal re­sponses to the opi­oid cri­sis.

In the next few days, KFLA Pub­lic Health is to work out the de­tails of pro­vid­ing nalox­one kits and train­ing to agen­cies that have com­mu­nity outreach pro­grams, such as com­mu­nity health cen­tres.

“There is def­i­nitely a plan to in­crease nalox­one ac­cess more widely in the com­mu­nity,” Karachi­walla said.

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