ALBERTA

Naloxone-Equipped Kits Prevented Fentanyl Overdoses: Alberta Health Services

09/13/2015 07:21 EDT | Updated 09/13/2016 05:12 EDT
CALGARY — Alberta's provincial health agency says "fentanyl antidote" kits have saved at least four lives since they hit the streets of Calgary earlier this summer.

Alberta Health Services says that in the last 10 weeks, about 100 naloxone kits were given out by the Safeworks program.

An awareness campaign, partnering with the Calgary Police Service, was launched just over a month ago to try to curb abuse of the drug.

Fentanyl is an opioid used to treat severe pain.

It is about 100 times stronger than morphine, heroin or oxycodone and is often passed off as the new form of OxyContin.

Naloxone works by competing with fentanyl for the same opiate receptors in the body, decreasing the potency of the drug.

In the first six months of 2015, 145 people in Alberta died from taking drugs in which fentanyl was detected.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's Joss Reimer said last week that the authority also hopes to have a distribution program for naloxone in place by the end of the year.

Health Canada has also said it is reviewing the prescription-only status of naloxone on an urgent basis.

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