Prov­ince eases ac­cess to over­dose treat­ment kits Fen­tanyl deaths prompts prov­ince to take ac­tion

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

Start­ing May 13 the prov­ince has an­nounc ed that it w ill b e pro­vid­ing medicine used to re­verse opi­oid over­doses for free and w ithout a pr es­crip­tion to Al­ber­tans at risk of over­dose.

Nalox­one k its – which c an tem­po­rar­ily re­verse over­doses of fen­tanyl and other opi­ods – can now be pro­vided by phar­ma­cies without a pre­scrip­tion, the NDP gover nment an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The move comes in re­sponse to the fen­tanyl epi­demic which the Alb erta H ealth Mini ster Brandy Payne said has al­ready caused the deaths of 69 Al­ber­tans in 2016 and 274 de aths as­so­ci­ated w ith t he dr ug in 2015.

“Our hop e is that re­mov­ing the pr es­crip­tion r equire­ment will enc ourage mor e p eo­ple to ac­cess these po­ten­tially life­sav­ing kits,” Payne said.

The k its ar e f ree of c harge and are avail­able to any Al­ber­tan who is at risk of over­dos­ing on f en­tanyl or ot her opi­oid s, such as heroin or pre­scrip­tion opi­ates like oxy­con­tin.

River­side V alue Dr ug Mar t phar­ma­cist R ay Ains cough agrees with the move and said nalox­one kits have been avail­able a t R iver­side sinc e t hey were first a pproved a s pr es­crip­tion medicine.

“It’s definit ely ne eded w ith the r ise of f en­tanyl u se,” Ain­scough said. “I t’s sad t hat we have t o ha ve it but it ’s s ome­thing that can save lives.” N alox­one was changed from a S ched­ule 1 dr ug, which r equires a ph ysi­cian’s pr es­crip­tion, to Sched­ule 2, which only re­quires c on­sul­ta­tion w ith a phar macist t o de ter­mine whether t he p atient r equires the kit.

The k its ma y als o b e pr ovided by pa­tient’s agents, such as friends and fam­ily, for loved ones at risk.

Ain­scough said t he move of pro­vid­ing k its f or f ree op ens ac­cess t o nalo xone t o ad­dic ts who ma y ot her­wise not b e will­ing t o pur chase t he livesav­ing k its. “If p eo­ple p ay for them, would they get it? It has to be done – t he risk of de ath with f en­tanyl is e xtremely high.”

Al­berta is t he s econd prov­ince in C anada t o al­low nalo xone t o b e pr ovided w ithout a pr es­crip­tion.

The pr ovince is als o pr ovid­ing $3 mil­lion t o Alb erta Health Ser­vices to sup­port the Opi­oid D epen­dency T reat­ment P lan Stra tegy, a t hree­year pr oject t hat w ill e xpand coun­selling s er­vices and ac - cess t o sub ox­one and me thadone tr eat­ment; and inc rease of 20 p er cent from the num­ber cur­rently b eing treated at ex­ist­ing AHS clin­ics, a gov­ern­ment re­lease said.

Nalox­one kits, used to tem­po­rarly re­verse opi­oid over­doses from drugs like fen­tanyl, are now avail­able for free to ad­dicts. Kits will be ad­min­is­tered by phar­ma­cies based on con­sul­ta­tions with pa­tients or pa­tient agents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.