Home Naloxone Kits see rise in usage
More and more Albertans are accessing the unlimited supply of home naloxone kits from local drugstores.
Naloxone is a drug that can be used in an emergency overdose situation. It’s a temporary solution to prevent the person from completely failing before medical services arrive.
“Short story: It blocks the receptors so that it takes away the opiates so they don’t get to the brain and cause the damage that it does, it does a temporary block,” said Ray Ainscough of Riverside Value Drug Mart.
Fentanyl is a unique drug as its potency is of a much larger capacity and has manmade components compared to natural opioids. It is typically meant for pain relief in a hospital.
Signs of an overdose from Fentanyl can be seen from physical symptoms like weak muscles, dizziness, confusion, profoundly slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, or a bluish tint to lips and nails.
The Opioids and Substances of Misuse Alberta Report explained that by the second quarter of 2017, 241 deaths have been reported due to Fentanyl overdoses.
The report also stated that in the second quarter, 81 per cent of overdoses happened in large urban centres such as Calgary or Edmonton, leaving a mere 19 per cent to smaller populations or rural areas. 85 deaths were recorded last year indicating a rise of usage in the lethal drug.
Each kit contains three doses of Naloxone, three needles with supplies, gloves, respi- rator and a how-to guide for administering the shot. When giving the shot, it is recommended to aim for a muscle like an arm or a leg.
Alberta Health Services has provided information on where to find pharmacies or walk-in clinics. The link can be found here: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/ Page15586.aspx or simply search for Home Naloxone Kits online.
Naloxone Kits are available at three different locations in Drumheller; Extra Foods Pharmacy, Riverside Value Drug Mart, and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“It’s 100 per cent covered by the government, this is something they came out with to try to save lives,” said Ainscough. “If there’s a price not everyone will get it.”
Ainscough explains the kit can be helpful in many different situations and is not restricted to just Fentanyl use.
“It can be used for other overdoses as well because it blocks it,” continued Ainscough. “Now you have to remember it’s a temporary fix. It’s not you give that shot and all of a sudden everything is great and good to go, I call it 15 minutes. It buys you time to get to emergency.”
Current or previous users of opioids can access the kits for free.
“If you think you need to get it, get it.”
“Plain and simple.”
Owner Ray Ainscough of Riverside Value Drug Mart in Drumheller holds a Home Naloxone Kit. Inside contains three shots of Naloxone, three needles with supplies, gloves, a rescue mask for CPR, and a howto guide to administering the shot.