B.C. government to provide free take-home naloxone kits at pharmacies throughout province

To help prevent overdose deaths, the B.C. government says take-home naloxone kits are now available at community pharmacies around the province. They say the kits are free to people who use opioids or are likely to witness an overdose.

Effort aimed at people who use opioids or are likely to witness an overdose, says province

The opioid antidote naloxone can save lives during overdoses. (Stefan Labbe/CBC)

To help prevent overdose deaths, the B.C. government says take-home naloxone kits are now available at community pharmacies around the province.

They say the kits are free to people who use opioids or are likely to witness an overdose.

"Bringing a friend or a loved one back from the brink of death can hinge on people knowing how to use a naloxone kit and having access to one, and making them available at local pharmacies makes them more accessible than ever,"  Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy said in a news release. 

The province says 1,900 kits have been allocated to 220 pharmacies, including London Drugs, Save-on-Foods, and independent pharmacies. 

To receive a free kit, people can visit a participating pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist to determine their eligibility. 

This move is an expansion of the Take Home Naloxone program, which provides people with kits and training on how to prevent an overdose. 

According to the province, until now take-home naloxone kits have only been available at harm-reduction sites, local health units, emergency rooms, corrections facilities, and First Nations sites. 

"Through this new collaboration, naloxone will now be readily available at more locations, making it easier for people to look out for each other and be safer," said Dr. Jane Buxton, who's with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

"Pharmacists are trained, experienced and knowledgeable, not only in medication but in providing an essential health-care service to our patients and to our community," said Geraldine Vance, who's with the B.C. Pharmacy Association. 

London Drugs says naloxone kits will be available at every one of their pharmacies across the province. 

The government says they are encouraging all of B.C.'s pharmacies to take part in the program.