Naloxone saved 400 Albertans from fentanyl overdoses in one year

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said paramedics administered naloxone to 2,370 patients between January 2015 and August 2016.

Deaths due to fentanyl higher in first six months of 2016 compared to same period in 2015

Naxolone kits have been distributed across Alberta.

Naloxone kits saved 408 Albertans from dying from fentanyl overdoses in one year, MLAs on the public accounts committee were told Tuesday.

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said EMS staff administered naloxone to 2,370 patients between January 2015 and August 2016.

Yiu said 6,000 naloxone kits were distributed in one year. Another 10,000 take-home kits are available for distribution at 883 centres across the province. 

Figures from AHS show 153 Albertans died due to fentanyl in the first six months of 2016. That's up from the 139 deaths recorded in the first six months of 2015.

Overall in 2015, 274 people died due to fentanyl overdoses in Alberta. 

Naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of the deadly, highly addictive drug, giving people more time to get emergency medical treatment. 

In December, Alberta allowed emergency medical technicians to administer naloxone.

Prior to these changes the drug could only be administered by physicians, nurses, paramedics and fentanyl users themselves.