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HomeNewsProvince expanding access to naloxone kits, now free of charge

Province expanding access to naloxone kits, now free of charge

As of this past Friday, May 13, Albertans will able to get take-home naloxone kits free-of-charge from community pharmacies without a prescription.

The province wants to improve and expand access to naloxone, opiod treatment, and counselling. The kits can be used to temporarily reverse overdoses of fentanyl or other opioids, so people have time to seek emergency help.

To support the Opiod Dependency Treatment Plan Strategy, the province is also providing $3 million to Alberta Health Services. The 3-year project will expand counselling services and access to suboxone and methadone treatment in several communities where the need is greatest.

By the end of the first year, an additional 240 Albertans are expected to be receiving opioid replacement treatment; an increase of 20 per cent from the number currently being treated at existing AHS clinics.

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“Too many lives have been cut short by fentanyl, and too many families have lost loved ones. We know naloxone saves lives, so our strategy from the outset has been to make it more accessible,” says Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health.

“Our hope is that removing the prescription requirement will encourage more people to access these potentially life-saving kits. It is also our intention that by providing greater access to treatment and counselling, this further supports people struggling with opioid addiction and their families.”

The kits are free of charge and are available to any Albertan who is at risk of overdosing on fentanyl or other opioids. The Alberta College of Pharmacists’ Standards of Practice allow Schedule 2 drugs to be dispensed or sold to patients’ agents. As a result of this change, friends and family members can obtain naloxone kits for loved ones at risk. Albertans are encouraged to call ahead to their local pharmacies to ensure kits are available.

Alberta is the second province in Canada to allownaloxone to be provided without a prescription.

The province is expanding as an attempt to curb the harms caused by illicit fentanyl, as well as dangers posed by other opioids. The government seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, improve access to treatment, and reduce the supply and trafficking of fentanyl.

Also, Alberta’s health minister has recently authorized registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe naloxone; paramedics to distribute naloxone; and emergency medical technicians and emergency medical responders to administer and distribute naloxone as well.

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