November 15, 2017
As part of Saskatchewan’s expanding Take Home Naloxone (THN) program, the Keewatin Yatthé Regional Health Authority (KYRHA) will offer Take Home Naloxone kits beginning today (November 15th).
KYRHA Director of Addictions and Mental Health Byrne Richards says, “The implementation of the program in our area will allow people to be prepared and possibly prevent deaths from opioid overdose. People who have identified as being at-risk will be able to access the kits, free of charge, following the completion of a course on recognizing, preventing, and responding to an overdose. They will also be taught how to administer Naloxone using the THN Kit.” Family members and friends are welcome and encouraged to participate in the training.
The kit does not replace the need for immediate treatment of someone who has overdosed, as they will still require emergency medical treatment. 911 should always be called when an overdose is witnessed.
In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the toxicity of the opioids currently available on the street. Fentanyl is a prescription opioid medication; however, it may also be sold illegally. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Naloxone works as an antidote to these drugs and is currently used in emergency departments and by paramedics. When administered properly, Naloxone can restore breathing to an individual experiencing an overdose. The expansion of the program is in addition to a range of other services available to high-risk individuals, and supports the provincial government’s commitment to addressing the recommendations in the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is providing $50,000 this year to fund THN programs in every health region in Saskatchewan. Currently, THN programs are available in the Saskatoon, Regina Qu’Appelle, Prairie North, Sunrise, Prince Albert Parkland, Five Hills, Sun Country, Heartland, and Keewatin Yatthé health regions.
Individuals interested in more information about the kits or the training program are asked to call (306) 235-5822.