11/29/2017 07:44 EST | Updated 11/29/2017 08:21 EST

New Brunswick distributing 2,500 naloxone kits to deal with opioid use

FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has introduced a naloxone kit program in an effort to respond to the growing epidemic of opioid use in Canada.

Health Minister Benoit Bourque says the government will spend $150,000 to buy about 2,500 kits.

Naloxone temporarily reverses overdoses caused by opioid drugs such as fentanyl or heroin.

The kits will be distributed free of charge through needle exchange programs with AIDS New Brunswick, AIDS Moncton and AIDS Saint John.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, acting chief medical officer of health, says 25 people died in New Brunswick due to drugs during the first six months of this year, and of those 17 were related to opioids.

Matthew Smith, executive director of AIDS New Brunswick says he's certain the naloxone kits will save lives.

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