50,000 naloxone kits used to reverse opioid overdoses: province

If you had doubts about the effectiveness handing out free naloxone kits, a B.C. government minister offers up this statistic.

More than 50,000 kits containing the life-saving medication naloxone have been used to reverse opioid overdoses in B.C., says the province.

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In total, 175,022 naloxone kits have been reported distributed to people who use drugs and those who are likely to witness an overdose through the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Take Home Naloxone program.

”Every free naloxone kit distributed in B.C. is a statement that we are committed as neighbours, as a community, as a province, to saving lives,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a statement. “We know that people need to be alive to find their own unique pathway to healing and hope and this announcement tells people using drugs loud and clear that we want them to live.”

Between 2012 and the end of 2015, 5,073 kits were reported distributed. Since 2016, 169,949 have been given out, says the province.

“The Take Home Naloxone program is a crucial component of the emergency response to the overdose crisis in our province and I'm proud of our partners and community members for their dedication and working quickly and creatively to get this life-saving medication into the hands of people who need it,” said Dr. Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead for the BCCDC, the program that runs the Take Home Naloxone program. “However, people need access to a safer supply of substances so they don't use the highly toxic street drugs that puts them at risk of an overdose.”

There are currently 1,678 active distribution sites including over 700 community pharmacies across the province in all five regional health authorities.

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