Opiate overdose prevention drug hits Red Deer streets

  • Jul. 8, 2015 3:42 p.m.

A new medication, which reverses the effects of an Opioid overdose, hit the streets of Red Deer Tuesday morning with one purpose and one purpose only – to save lives.

According to Alberta Health’s web site the government-funded project is in response to a jump in the number of Fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta from six in 2011 to 120 in 2014.

Thanks to a one year grant of $300,000 from Alberta Health to the Alberta Community Council on HIV, seven agencies across the province including the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society (CAANS) received take home Naloxone (also known as Narcan™) kits.

The medication is known as an ‘opioid antagonist’ and is used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses from drugs such as morphine, heroine, or Fentanyl and acts by counteracting the depression of the brain’s central nervous system and respiratory system allowing an overdose victim to continue breathing. It is injected in the muscle, vein, or under the skin.

Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, executive director for CAANS, explained the kits would be distributed to opiate users through a partnership with CAANS and the Primary Care Network’s Street Clinic where users must be prescribed the medication.

“The tragedies happening on the Blood Reserve and the frequency of people overdosing and dying from opiates is really what moved the urgency of this forward by Alberta Health,” said Vanderschaeghe, referring to the southern Alberta reserve where 16 people have died from Fentanyl overdoses in the last nine months.

It has become the first reserve in Alberta to dispense Naloxone to members.

Kits will be provided free-of-charge with each kit containing two doses of Naloxone, three single-use syringes, one pair of latex gloves, two alcohol swabs, one one-way rescue breathing barrier mask and one step-by-step instruction pamphlet with recipients of the kits also receiving a 10-minute training session when receiving the kit.

“One of the reasons opiates are so dangerous and cause death is because the drug itself works on the respiratory system slowing down people’s breathing to the point they stop breathing,” she said. “Of course when people stop breathing their heart stops and then they are dead.

“They will look like they are sleeping but whether they are really unconscious and overdosing can be seen in the individual’s response to pain – if you bump your knuckle along their top lip and they don’t respond, that’s an overdose – if you give them a kick on the bottom of the foot and they don’t respond back that’s an overdose.”

Alberta Heath states Naloxone does not get people high, it cannot be abused, and has no risk of dependency with Vanderschaeghe reinforcing the only function of the medication is saving lives.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

UPDATE: Red Deer RCMP arrest man involved in fatal hit and run

RCMP flew to Nipawin, Sask. to arrest Tosh Vertraeten

Pop Evil hits the stage at Bo’s Nov. 25th

Acclaimed band is touring in support of self-titled disc released early this year

Oh What a Night! celebrates iconic American legends

Frankie Valli and Andy Williams honoured during Red Deer show

Red Deer Lights the Night gets residents into the holiday spirit

Free winter festival is on Saturday, Nov. 17th from 4 to 7 p.m.

First Nation marks ‘milestone’ land deal at Alberta ceremony

Lubicon Lake First Nation Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan signed treaty last month

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

City of Wetaskiwin didn’t apply utility hikes to bills

Clerical financial error discovered by Wetaskiwin city council

Black Panther claw, Power Rangers blade among 2018’s ‘worst toys,’ safety group says

The World Against Toys Causing Harm organized announced its 46th annual list in Boston on Tuesday

What now for Calgary, Canada and Olympic Games after 2026 rejection?

Calgary, along with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., made Canada a player in the international sport community

Most Read