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

Major wreck closes Hwy 16 at Woodmere Rd

Traffic being rerouted, expect delays until at least 4 p.m.

Minor parties scramble to get candidates nominated for Stikine

Taylor wants to be Christian Heritage Party candidate, Repen makes bid to represent Rural BC Party

Local M.D. urges keeping social bubbles to six

“This situation is happening in our own communities:” Dr. Kate Niethammer

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Who is or may be running in Stikine in the provincial election

Cullen nomination sparks controversy over NDP equity policy

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read