A drug that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose will soon be more widely available in Saskatchewan.
An administrative bylaw change made by the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals will allow take home naloxone (THN) kits to be distributed without the involvement of a pharmacist and in locations other than a pharmacy.
Naloxone was previously listed as a Schedule II drug, which meant it was only available through a pharmacist.
It is now an unscheduled drug, making it easier for individuals to access the kits and for community-based organizations (CBOs) to distribute kits to clients who are at-risk of an opioid overdose.
“This change allows our CBOs to play a key role in getting THN kits into the hands of individuals at risk,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said in a statement.
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Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals registrar Jeana Wendel said the organization supported the government’s move to remove naloxone as a scheduled drug.
“We feel this will further improve access for the people of Saskatchewan to obtain lifesaving take home naloxone kits and help prevent further deaths due to overdoses,” Wendel stated in a press release.
Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose and restore breathing within minutes. Further medical treatment is required for anyone who is administered naloxone.
The drug is not a narcotic, is non-addictive and has no effect if opioids are not present.
The Health Ministry and the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be working with CBOs in the coming weeks to provide them with the kits.