P.A. health region offering free care for opioid overdose

By Spencer Sterritt
January 9, 2017 - 5:00pm

The tool to combat an opioid overdose, which has become a serious health issue across Canada, is now available for free in Prince Albert.

Starting today, Jan. 9, 50 naloxone overdose kits are available through Access Place to help anyone who risks an overdose.

Steven Mah, manager of the Access Place and outreach services, said staff want to be as pro-active as possible when dealing with fentanyl and opioids, which have sparked drug crises all across Canada.

“I would like to go through all 50 kits,” he said. “The more kits that are circulating through the community and people are trained, the more prepared we are to save someone’s life.”’

The kit includes a syringe, the naloxone itself as well as safety wear and instructions. Only someone who has undergone training by the health region, which Mah said is comprehensive but not lengthy, will be able to receive the kit.

Dr. Khami Chokani, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region’s medical health officer, said the kit is a “primer” to help those suffering an overdose and prepares them for further assistance from first responders and medical staff.

He stressed the overdose kit is not the final step of assisting someone suffering an overdose. Those administering it must call 911 immediately.

An opioid overdose shares similar symptoms as those from other substances, such as nausea and a loss of bodily functions. Opioid overdoses are particularly marked by respiratory depression and distress, Chokani said. A sizable portion of naloxone kit training is identifying the signs of an opioid overdose.

Chokani added those who are worried about injecting naloxone for a different medical condition, such as a heart attack should know it won't cause serious damage. He said the naloxone was specifically chosen because of its safety.

Programming is currently underway and being developed to provide the kits to Prince Albert Police Service and the Fire Department as well.

“We’re trying to make it as widely available as possible,” Chokani said.

The province's Ministry of Health contributed $50,000 to the kits which are now becoming more widely available across Saskatchewan.

 

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