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