The war on drug overdoses

Kootenay support group trains users in stopping opioid deaths.

ANKORS is taking part in a pilot program to save people from opioid overdoses.

The Kootenays outreach society is making opioid antagonist drug Naloxone available to people who use illicit opioid drugs.

In southeast B.C., people are dying from prescription opioid overdoses – pain medication such as codeine and morphine – at the same rate they are dying in drunk-driving accidents, according to Interior Health ( http://www.dailytownsman.com/news/179114961.html).

. But in the U.S., where there are 180 community based programs, 10,000 opioid overdoses have been reversed by Naloxone.

The drug, which was administered by the BC Ambulance Service 2,367 times in 2011, reverses life-threatening respiratory depression of opioids to restore breathing, usually in two to five minutes.

“This is a very simple thing to offer,” said Cheryl Dowden, executive director of ANKORS. “Naloxone has less side effects than an epipen.”

It can be injected into a vein, muscle or under the skin and can be given through clothing. Naloxone doesn’t get a person high, and it has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system.

Through the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, a pilot program is making Naloxone available for people who use illicit opioids, including drugs like morphine, codeine and oxycodone, as well as heroin.

Last week, ANKORS received 60 take-home kits to give out to illicit drug users in the West Kootenay.

“Our intention is to make sure this has further reach, including the East Kootenay. But we are just starting,” said Dowden.

Naloxone can only be prescribed to a named person, so ANKORS is referring opioid users to a Castlegar physician and nurse practitioner.

The person is given overdose and Naloxone training, then they see the physician for a prescription.

“We are hoping that eventually we will have more physicians on board to prescribe Naloxone, and hopefully in the East Kootenay as well,” said Dowden.

Giving Naloxone out to drug users is important because people are sometimes afraid of legal implications if they call 911.

“Part of the work we are doing is trying to suppress people’s fears around police involvement,” said Dowden.

She hopes that one day, doctors will prescribe Naloxone whenever they prescribe opioids.

“Our hope is that eventually, Naloxone will have further reach, so that if somebody is prescribed a pain medication by a doctor, they will also be prescribed a companion prescription for Naloxone.”

In the meantime, getting those 60 kits out to opioid users in the West Kootenay will have a positive effect.

“This has huge potential to save lives,” said Dowden. “The majority of overdoses take place with another person present. If people have the information and they have Naloxone, it’s kind of a no-brainer that this could save lives.”

Just Posted

Penalties sink Ice against Hurricanes

The Kootenay Ice lost 5-2 against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on their Family Day Game

Crowds pack downtown core for Blitzville

Crowds flocked to the downtown Cranbrook core to take in the inaugural… Continue reading

Blades cut through Kootenay Ice 8-3

The Ice couldn’t come back against the Saskatoon Blades after an early three-goal deficit

Gord McArthur back in action from retirement

After eight years McArthur slew his kryptonite at the World Cup Ice Climbing tour in Switzerland

RDEK takes steps towards reducing carcass pit use

The first step towards addressing the issue of carcass pits in the… Continue reading

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read