Bet­ter ac­cess fight­ing fen­tanyl over­dose

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Diane Thomas The Drumheller Mail photo sub­mit­ted

Al­berta Health has in­creased ac­cess to kits that re­verse fen­tanyl over­doses. Sev­eral big­ger city phar­ma­cies across the prov­ince are now pro­vid­ing take-home nalox­one kits free-of-charge to Al­ber­tans with a pre­scrip­tion.

As­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Health Brandy Payne stated in a news re­lease, “This is just one of the steps our govern­ment is tak­ing to ad­dress the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact fen­tanyl is hav­ing in our prov­ince. The highly toxic drug is be­ing used by peo­ple from many dif­fer­ent age groups and from all walks of life-from our in­ner cities to our sub­ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties. By mak­ing nalox­one kits avail­able to phar­ma­cies, we’re ex­pand­ing the avail­abil­ity of th­ese kits.”

In 2015, there were 272 over­dose deaths in­volv­ing fen­tanyl in Al­berta, up from 120 in 2014. Il­licit fen­tanyl is highly toxic and a very small amount (2 be deadly.

An­der­son Drug Phar­ma­cist Pat Doyle spoke with The Mail, “We don’t have the nalox­one kits at our phar­macy how­ever it is some­thing we could look into. The RCMP and EMS are the ones that will be car­ry­ing it. The RCMP have not come to us yet say­ing fen­tanyl is a prob­lem in Drumheller, so it is not avail­able at a retail level.”

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Doyle ex­plained, “Nalox­one blocks all opi­ates in the fam­ily of codeine drugs such as mor­phine, fen­tanyl and Tylenol Three, how­ever it is only a tem­po­rary block. You have to get th­ese pa­tients to the hos­pi­tal, to keep re­ceiv­ing nalox­one un­til the fen­tanyl wears off. The nalox­one kit is com­pa­ra­ble to an Epipen, that is used for al­ler­gic re­ac­tions, it buys them time to get to med­i­cal care.”

Drumheller RCMP Cor­po­ral Rod Guthrie spoke to The Mail and said, “Mem­bers have en­coun­tered only one sin­gle pill of fen­tanyl in the past six months. The mem­bers have at­tended a work­shop about fen­tanyl but don’t carry the kits as of yet." Guthrie ex­plained, “Fen­tanyl isn’t a prob­lem in Drumheller. Al­berta, prov­ince wide, cer­tainly has the num­bers to sup­port that it could hap­pen, but we haven’t en­coun­tered it. It's just a mat­ter of time as it be­comes more pop­u­lar.”

Guthrie fur­ther said, “Drumheller is such a gem (when com­pared to other cities) it’s a good com­mu­nity and a re­ally good place to live.”

Drumheller is such a gem (when com­pared to other cities), it’s a good com­mu­nity and a re­ally good place to

live.” Cor­po­ral Rod Guthrie

Drumheller RCMP

Con­tents of the Nalox­one kit that will soon be avail­able to RCMP, EMS and phar­ma­cies for fen­tanyl over­doses.

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