Those at risk of an opioid overdose now have access to naloxone kits and other supports in more than nine locations across Manitoba, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“Overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in Manitoba,” said Goertzen. “Making naloxone kits available across the province won’t stop the opioids crisis, but it will save lives and help prevent overdoses.”
Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, is most efficient in preventing overdose deaths if administered within minutes of an overdose. However, Goertzen stressed that naloxone does not eliminate the risks associated with drug use. He noted this is especially the case when powerful opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl are involved.
Individuals who request a take-home naloxone kit will receive training on overdose recognition and how to use the kit. They will also be able to access information on addiction and harm reduction services.
In 2016, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority launched a naloxone distribution program through Street Connections. Between January and December 2016, more than 245 kits were distributed and 31 overdoses were reversed as a direct result.
Goertzen noted prevention is key to fighting the current opioids crisis here and across Canada. The government is focusing on increasing awareness about the dangers of opioids, like fentanyl, to ensure Manitobans clearly understand their impact.
Recently, schools in the province received electronic information packages offering general information on fentanyl and a guide for parents on how to talk to their children about drug and alcohol use. The minister noted an awareness campaign was also launched in November 2016 to remind everyone that fentanyl does not give second chances.
As more sites offer the kits, contact information will be added to the Street Connections website. To find out where naloxone kits are available free of charge to those at risk of overdose, visit: www.streetconnections.ca.