Naloxone kits are being given out for free in some provinces in a bid to reduce deaths from opioid overdose.

Naloxone kits are being given out for free in some provinces in a bid to reduce deaths from opioid overdose.
Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/file

Opioid prescription users urged to get overdose treatment kits


Naloxone can save someone from dying of an overdose and people who legally use prescription pain-killers like morphine and oxycodone are being counselled to get the antidote kits.  The consumer-oriented website warns that people are at greater risk if they use high doses, have certain medical conditions or if they take their pills with alcohol or sleeping pills.

Overdose signs listed on website

The warning says signs of an overdose include weakness or limpness of the body, difficulty waking up and breathing that has slowed or stopped.

It explains that naloxone can keep a person alive until an ambulance and that some provinces provide the kits free of charge. It also urges people to speak to their health care providers if they or someone close to them may be at risk of an overdose. And it provides links to access to more information.

Darker colours show where there is a higher incidence of opioid-related deaths in Canada.
Darker colours show where there is a higher incidence of opioid-related deaths in Canada. © Government of Canada

More overdose deaths in the west

Canada is suffering a wave of deaths from opioid overdose deaths. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that in 2016 there were 2,458 apparent opioid-related deaths. That averaged 8.8 deaths per 100,000 people. The incidence is highest in the western part of the country.

The problem was first noted in habitual drug users, then in occasional users and now there is concern for those who legally take prescription opioids as well.

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One comment on “Opioid prescription users urged to get overdose treatment kits
  1. David Gerrior says:

    The people dying from opioid overdoses are using street drugs – not proper prescriptions. This is just scare mongering. We don’t have an opioid crisis we have a Fentanyl crisis. People who have proper prescriptions are aware of the dangers associated with taking opioids with alcohol or sleeping pills or other medications. Trying to tie this in with the so called “opioid crisis” is simply fear-mongering. Habitual drug users are not people with a prescription! If you read the literature written by medical professionals you will soon learn the difference between an opioid crisis and a Fentanyl crisis. This organization is a website run by two people. It states clearly in that it “does not provide medical advice” and yet here it is giving medical advice! Please visit their website and make you own conclusions. Just because someone has a website does not mean they are authorities. These are not medical doctors but a couple of pharmacists with a website who have set up a not-for-profit – nothing more.