Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
More than 28,000 Kits Distributed Across Province to Help Reduce Opioid Deaths
Toronto, ON – Apr 11, 2017
Ontario is expanding access to naloxone, a life-saving drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, by providing it free of charge to anyone in need in over 200 cities and towns across the province.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was joined today by Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, at Shoppers Drug Mart today to raise awareness about Ontario’s naloxone programs and to encourage more people who are at risk of an opioid overdose, as well as their friends and families, to pick up a free kit.
As of the end of March 2017, more than 28,000 naloxone kits had been dispensed free of charge at over 1,000 pharmacies, and at 40 public health units and community-based organizations that run needle exchange and hepatitis C programs. In addition, more than 500 naloxone kits have also been distributed at 10 provincial correctional facilities to at-risk inmates at the time of their release. By the end of spring 2017, all 26 provincial correctional facilities will be able to distribute naloxone kits.
Expanding access to opioid overdose medication is part of Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose. As part of this strategy, Ontario has also:
•Delisted high-strength opioids from the Ontario Drug Benefit formulary to help prevent addiction and support appropriate prescribing.
•Launched a comprehensive website about Ontario’s naloxone kit programs, which includes information on how to use naloxone kits, how to prevent an opioid overdose and a searchable list of where kits are available across the province.
•Placed stricter controls on the prescribing and dispensing of fentanyl patches. Patients are now required to return used fentanyl patches to their pharmacy before more patches can be dispensed.
Preventing opioid overdoses is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
Listen to the audio below: