The Ontario government has announced that intranasal naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan, will be available free of charge to the public and available at participating pharmacies by the end of March.
The announcement comes in response to new data which reveals that harms related to opioid use are continuing to increase. The province said there were 1,053 opioid-related deaths from January to October 2017, compared with 694 during the same time period in 2016.
Ontario also saw an increase in emergency department visits related to opioids, with 7,658 visits from January to October of last year, up from 4,453 during the same period the previous year.
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Previously, intramuscular naloxone was only available through the Ontario Naloxone Pharmacy Program, but this expansion will allow for the more user-friendly nasal spray to be accessible to anyone with a health card.
CMHA Ontario has developed an opioid overdose toolkit to provide more information about opioids and naloxone access in Ontario. Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization is particularly useful for community groups who work with at-risk populations. The resource is also useful for the average person who wants to learn more about how to use naloxone during an opioid-related emergency at home, at work or at play.
For more information on where you can access both intramuscular and intranasal naloxone in the province, click on the flow chart below.