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Naloxone at pharmacies: what you need to know to combat the opioid crisis

Monday, August 29, 2016

Map of Canada with pharmacies marked and text reading 'naloxone. temporary antidote'.

Canada is in the middle of what many news sources are calling an opioid crisis. In Ontario, the country’s largest per capita consumer of opioids, 663 people died of opioid overdoses in 2014 alone.

In May, Ontario’s government responded to the rising rates of opioid misuse by making the drug naloxone available, for free, at pharmacies across the province.

Naloxone is a temporary antidote for overdoses from opioid drugs. Opioids, which include fentanyl and oxycodone, are typically prescribed for pain management, and addiction can often stem from this type of use. When an overdose occurs, naloxone can be injected into a muscle of the overdosed person.

Naloxone does not cure an overdose: it simply delays the effects of overdosing for about 30 minutes, buying time for an ambulance to take the affected person to hospital for further care. Even once naloxone has been given, you must call 9-1-1.

For five crucial facts about naloxone, see this video:

For instructions on how to inject naloxone, see this video:

Healthcare providers can print and display this infographic summarizing naloxone best practices:

Naloxone Infographic (PDF)

These materials are part of the 5in5 Project, an educational campaign led by Assistant Professor Kelly Grindrod.

The Naloxone materials were created in collaboration with graphic designer Adrian Poon, Associate Professor Michael Beazely, and the Region of Waterloo Public Health Nurse Kathy McKenna.