New Brunswick marijuana company commits $20K to fight opioid crisis

A naloxone anti-overdose kit is shown in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.
A naloxone anti-overdose kit is shown in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Organigram, a medicinal marijuana company that is set to play a key role in New Brunswick’s plans for legalized marijuana, has announced that they’re committing $20,000 to the fight against Canada’s opioid crisis.

The company announced on Tuesday that they’ll partner with an alliance of New Brunswick AIDS organizations to provide funding for the purchase of at least 500 naloxone kits.

For organizations in the province, it’ll be the first kits that they’ll receive since naloxone became widely available.

Debby Warren with AIDS Moncton plans to begin distributing the kits to frontline areas like soup kitchens or shelters.

“This issue doesn’t just belong to the AIDS organizations, this doesn’t just belong to the government, this is a community issue,” said Warren. “So I was very proud to say that we have a company in the Moncton area that says ‘we live and work in the area and we want to help.'”

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READ MORE: New Brunswick creates Crown corporation to oversee marijuana sales

Warren says they’ll spread the kits throughout the province in order to make the best use of the kits.

The $20,000 funding commitment is part of the company’s commitment to social good, Ray Gracewood, Organigram’s chief commerical officer, told Global News on Tuesday.

“We think that this partnership with AIDS New Brunswick is an example of how we’d like to put our best foot forward and create social responsibility and awareness and help create programs that will help the medical community,” he said.

“Our viewpoint, ever since we started in 2013, was to support our local community.”

Naloxone is a medication that quickly restores normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to an opioid overdose.

New Brunswick’s Regional Health Authorities (RHA) has provided emergency responders, including police, with naloxone kits. The kits are also available to purchase at pharmacies in the province.

Kits range in price between $50 and $100 each.

AIDS Moncton says they plan to distribute the kits by the end of October.

WATCH: Using marijuana to fight the opioid crisis

Click to play video 'Using marijuana to fight the opioid crisis' Using marijuana to fight the opioid crisis
Using marijuana to fight the opioid crisis

The business of Organigram

The New Brunswick government has created a new Crown corporation to oversee the sale of recreational marijuana and signed deals with two suppliers, including Organigram.

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Organigram’s partnership with the New Brunswick government will see the company put two per cent of all revenue from their upcoming legal marijuana sales into social education and programming in the province.

The federal government has introduced legislation to legalize recreational weed by July 1 but left distribution and regulation to the provinces.

A Deloitte report last fall suggested recreational marijuana could be worth about $22.6 billion to the Canadian economy.

— With files from Katie Dangerfield