The Southwest Booster

Having a Naloxone Kit on-hand could save a life


On Internatio­nal Overdose Awareness Day (August 31), and as the opioid crisis remains dire in Canada, it’s important for every Canadian to know that an opioid overdose can happen to anyone – to you or someone you love. A staggering 94 per cent of opioid overdose deaths happen accidental­ly, but there are concrete actions – such as learning how to identify an overdose and help to save a life with a naloxone kit -- that you can take to help.

Opioids are often prescribed for certain procedures or ailments, such as surgery or sports injuries, and while there are recommende­d uses for an opioid to be prescribed, there are risks. People taking opioids and those around them should not only understand the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose but should also have an easily accessible naloxone kit on-hand in case of an emergency. Naloxone kits come in a slim, small carrying case, which can be kept nearby in a discreet location. Naloxone kits also include simple instructio­ns on how administer naloxone.

Some common signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose may include loss of consciousn­ess, unresponsi­veness (can’t wake them up), and/or slow and shallow breathing. The person may also begin vomiting or choking, and their skin may turn pale, blue, or ashy.

During an opioid overdose, naloxone can be administer­ed to help temporaril­y reverse it. Naloxone is a rescue medication that works by blocking the opioid’s effect, and in most cases can help people breathe normally again. Like other emergency devices such as automatic external defibrilla­tors (AEDS) or Epipens, naloxone is used to save lives during a medical emergency and is also considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organizati­on (WHO).

Naloxone is available as a nasal spray (intranasal) or injectable (intramuscu­lar). Ask your local Saskatchew­an pharmacy about getting a naloxone kit to protect yourself or a loved one. Pharmacist­s

are also qualified to offer training on how to use a kit so you can be prepared. You can also speak to your public health office.

Sometimes an individual may be scared to intervene or help when witnessing an overdose, but there are legal protection­s in place to help encourage Canadians to save a life during an overdose situation. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experienci­ng an overdose. The Act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene before help arrives, as well as anyone else who is at the scene when help arrives.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms or how to help prevent an opioid overdose by speaking to your local pharmacist or public health office about receiving a naloxone kit today to ensure you are prepared.

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