A hand holding up a nasal spray bottle
Monday, April 8, 2024

Researchers identify an economic solution to Canada's opioid crisis

Waterloo student uses mathematical modelling to bring awareness to opioid-related death reduction method

Nasal-administered naloxone is cost-effective and could help reduce the number of opioid-related fatalities compared to the current publicly funded intramuscular version, a new study has found.

Since 2016, Canada's opioid crisis has worsened, with over 40,000 opioid-related deaths, or about 22 deaths per day. Most of these accidental deaths (88 per cent) occur in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

An effective way to help prevent opioid-related deaths is through community pharmacy-based naloxone programs. Currently, intramuscular naloxone is publicly funded across Canada, but it can be stress-inducing and difficult for bystanders to administer naloxone through a syringe. Intranasal naloxone, used as a simple nasal spray, is only publicly funded in Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.

The study by University of Waterloo researchers found a research gap in identifying the cost-effectiveness of implementing intranasal naloxone distribution across Canada through public funding. 

Read more on Waterloo News.