Here's where you can get take-home naloxone kits in Regina
An organizer displays a naloxone kit that people can pick up for free as International Overdose Awareness Day training seminar takes place at Centennial Square in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday August 31, 2019. Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, methadone, fentanyl and morphine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
REGINA -- The opioid crisis in Regina continues to escalate as suspected overdose deaths rise. On Tuesday, the Regina Police Service issued a reminder to the public after four men died of apparent overdoses over the course of three days.
According to the Regina Police Service, there have been 608 suspected overdoses where 911 has been called so far this year. Officers have gone to 116 of those calls.
People who are using opioids or those who are concerned they might witness an overdose – like a friend or family member of someone who is using – are encouraged access naloxone kits.
Naloxone – also known as Narcan – is a live-saving medicine that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Kits are available for free under the province’s take-home naloxone program. Here is where you can access a free naloxone kit in Regina:
Source: Government of Saskatchewan
ACCESSING NALOXONE AT A PHARMACY
Personal naloxone kits are only available for free at a few pharmacies under the provincially-funded program. However, most pharmacies stock naloxone kits to sell to the general public for $40 to $50, according to Myla Bulych, director of professional practice at the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan.
Bulych said people shouldn’t be fearful of getting in trouble when they go to a pharmacy for naloxone.
“The way that pharmacists look at overdose and related drug use is it’s an addiction and, of course, it needs to be treated like anything else. So, (pharmacists) try to reduce the stigma as much as possible,” said Bulych.
“We’re meant to be a supportive and non-judgemental avenue for opioid addiction and opioid use disorder.”
She added that pharmacists are prepared to train people on how to administer naloxone and explain what an overdose might look like. They can also show videos or provide written instructions.
“For someone doing it for the first time, it might be hard to remember all that. But in other cases, sometimes the patient just says, ‘No, I know how to use this,’ and pharmacist confirms their knowledge and passes (the kit) over,” said Bulych.
GOOD SAMARITAN DRUG OVERDOSE ACT
The Regina Police Service also reminded the public of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which is federal legislation that protects people from a drug possession charge if they call police during an apparent overdose.
“We don’t want them to fear being charged for possession on drugs, we want them to call 911 to get help for that individual who’s experiencing an overdose,” said police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich.
According to Popowich, officers have administered naloxone to reverse an overdose in a dozen cases. She said there have been 53 suspected overdose deaths so far this year.