Naloxone distribution questions need answers amid Canada’s opioid crisis

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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 to 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.



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