Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse an overdose from an opioid drug, such as fentanyl and heroin. Alberta firefighters and first responders are now able to administer naloxone by injection, meaning that they have an additional life-saving tool to use when responding to an overdose call or when they are unexpectedly exposed as first responders.
Making naloxone more widely accessible to individuals and organizations who want the kits will also help prevent further deaths. Last year, 343 people died of apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl in this province, compared to 257 in 2015. In the last three months of 2016, there were 111 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Alberta. This compares to 81 in the previous quarter, and 52 in the fourth quarter of 2015. Death rates could have been far worse. Naloxone kits saved 408 Albertans from dying from fentanyl overdoses between January 2015 and August 2016.
In addition to being carried by first responders, naloxone kits are available to anyone who can get a prescription in Alberta and is deemed at risk of a heroin or fentanyl overdose. Kits are provided free-of-charge and contain two units of naloxone, two syringes, two alcohol swabs, two latex gloves, a one-way breathing mask, and instructions.
Visit the Alberta Health Services site for more information on opioid drugs and where to get naloxone kits.