July 6, 2016 4:03 pm
Updated: July 8, 2016 11:09 pm

Health Canada approves Naloxone nasal spray to combat ‘opioid crisis’

WATCH: In health news, Health Canada is bringing in another weapon to fight the epidemic of drug overdoses. As Linda Aylesworth reports, the crisis is so serious, the agency is taking the unusual step of clearing an overdose product for use, before it's officially approved.


Health Canada has approved the lifesaving drug naloxone in the form of a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose as Ottawa continues its battle with the current opioid crisis.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott signed an interim order Wednesday to temporarily allow the spray form to be imported from the U.S. and sold in Canada.

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READ MORE: Alberta makes fentanyl antidote naloxone available in pharmacies

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, naloxone was only available in an injectable form in Canada.

“The number of opioid overdoses in Canada is nothing short of a public health crisis,” Philpott said in a statement. “First responders, police and family members need immediate access to formats of naloxone that are easy to use so that needless deaths can be prevented.”

READ MORE: Opioids kill hundreds of Canadians a year. Why are doctors still prescribing so many?

Instructions in English and French will be provided along with the nasal sprays distributed across the country to ensure that health-care providers, patients, and their families are able to us the drug safely.

Overdoses related to the powerful opioid fentanyl have spiked across Canada, hitting western Canada especially hard.

Alberta recorded more than 270 overdose deaths related to fentanyl last year, while B.C. had 148 fatal overdoses from fentanyl and 308 total overdose deaths since the year began.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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