Victoria-based Gaelle Nicolussi makes ‘I carry naloxone’ buttons to help raise awareness about the opioid crisis. (Courtesy of Gaelle Nicolussi)

Canadian research team says answers needed on naloxone

Group wants more information about the overdose-reversing drug’s safety, effectiveness, distribution

A national network that supports research into misuse of prescription and illegal drugs says several questions need to be addressed about a medication that reverses overdoses.

The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse says the opioid crisis has demanded a quick public health response, but has not necessarily allowed for the evaluation of important issues in distributing naloxone.

Every province and territory offers free injectable naloxone, while Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories also provide the nasal form for people at risk of overdosing.

Most jurisdictions also offer naloxone kits to family or friends who could use it to try and save someone’s life.

The research initiative says in a report that some areas are limited in their ability to distribute naloxone due to geographic challenges and regulations related to drugs, including that they must be provided by certain health professionals such as pharmacists.

The report involving researchers, service providers, policy-makers and people who use or have used drugs says other considerations include the training needed to effectively respond to an overdose and how to administer naloxone.

There is also a need for evidence regarding the benefit of distributing the drug broadly as opposed to only specific populations at risk of overdosing, it says.

“There are also ethical considerations including how to collect robust health data while protecting low-barrier access environments and respecting patient anonymity, and whether it is appropriate to provide naloxone kits to minors,” the report says.

The federally funded initiative says it’s also important to identify the most effective overdose response strategy beyond administering naloxone, including chest compressions, rescue breaths, calling 911 and the order in which those steps should be taken.

“Consolidating existing evidence, suggesting areas for future research, and building consensus among stakeholders may help improve naloxone access and ensure equitable outcomes in Canada,” the report says.

More than 11,500 people fatally overdosed in Canada between January 2016 and December 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported last week.

READ MORE: B.C. mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of inquest into overdose death

B.C. launched its publicly funded take-home naloxone program in 2012, and Ontario began doing the same in 2013, with Alberta and Saskatchewan following in 2015.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii restaurant owner joins #OneTable campaign, calls for government support

Chef-owner of Blacktail says loans not enough for restaurants impacted by COVID-19

Second Haida Nation webinar centres on mental health, well-being amid COVID-19

Haida Gwaii Talks Coronavirus guests led live exercises, shared free advice, apps and more

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

What’s your housing story? Port Clements needs assessment is underway

Survey of current residents, landlords, future residents runs until April 15

Port Clements applies for Community Trails and Recreation Program Grant

New hope for community trail projects impacted by reallocation of Rural Dividend money

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read