An­swers needed on over­dose-re­vers­ing med’s eth­i­cal, dis­tri­bu­tion is­sues: net­work

The Prince George Citizen - - Local -

VAN­COU­VER — A na­tional net­work that sup­ports re­search into mis­use of pre­scrip­tion and illegal drugs says sev­eral ques­tions need to be ad­dressed about the safety, ef­fec­tive­ness and dis­tri­bu­tion of a med­i­ca­tion that re­verses over­doses.

The Canadian Re­search Ini­tia­tive in Sub­stance Mis­use says the opi­oid cri­sis has de­manded a quick pub­lic health re­sponse but has not nec­es­sar­ily al­lowed for the eval­u­a­tion of im­por­tant is­sues in dis­tribut­ing nalox­one.

Ev­ery prov­ince and ter­ri­tory of­fers free in­jectable nalox­one, while Ontario, Quebec and the North­west Territorie­s also pro­vide the nasal form for peo­ple at risk of over­dos­ing.

Most ju­ris­dic­tions also of­fer nalox­one kits to fam­ily or friends who could use it to try and save some­one’s life.

The re­search ini­tia­tive says in a re­port that some ar­eas are limited in their abil­ity to dis­trib­ute nalox­one due to geo­graphic chal­lenges and reg­u­la­tions re­lated to drugs, in­clud­ing that they must be pro­vided by cer­tain health pro­fes­sion­als such as phar­ma­cists.

The re­port in­volv­ing re­searchers, ser­vice providers, pol­icy-mak­ers and peo­ple who use or have used drugs says other con­sid­er­a­tions in­clude the train­ing needed to ef­fec­tively re­spond to an over­dose and how to ad­min­is­ter nalox­one. There is also a need for ev­i­dence re­gard­ing the ben­e­fit of dis­tribut­ing the drug broadly as op­posed to only spe­cific pop­u­la­tions at risk of over­dos­ing, it says.

“There are also eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions in­clud­ing how to col­lect ro­bust health data while pro­tect­ing low-bar­rier ac­cess en­vi­ron­ments and re­spect­ing pa­tient anonymity, and whether it is ap­pro­pri­ate to pro­vide nalox­one kits to mi­nors,” the re­port says.

The fed­er­ally funded ini­tia­tive says it’s also im­por­tant to iden­tify the most ef­fec­tive over­dose re­sponse strat­egy be­yond ad­min­is­ter­ing nalox­one, in­clud­ing chest com­pres­sions, res­cue breaths, call­ing 911 and the or­der in which those steps should be taken.

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