Manitoba

1 in 5 naloxone kits used for overdoses in Winnipeg, Street Connections says

The fentanyl crisis continues in Winnipeg as more naloxone kits are handed out by Street Connections, as part of a pilot program to help prevent fentanyl related deaths.

Street Connections Winnipeg said 113 naloxone kits were distributed so far this year

Street Connections Winnipeg handed out 250 naloxone kits in 2016, and so far this year the group has distributed 113 kits on the streets of Winnipeg. (CBC)

One in five of the naloxone kits being handed out by a Winnipeg group is being used to reverse a drug overdose. 

Street Connections, which is run by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said 113 naloxone kits have been distributed so far this year.

"That's a pretty high number," said Shelley Marshall, a clinical nurse specialist with Street Connections.

"And one in five have been used in overdose events, so it remains really busy," she said.

In 2016, one in eight of the kits were used; 250 were handed out. 

Street Connections first began distributing the opiate antidote in 2016 as part of a pilot program to help prevent fentanyl-related deaths.  

Naloxone is a drug used to reverse the effects of opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl.

Marshall said the group is serving about the same number of people compared to 2016 but the numbers show that fentanyl is still a problem.

"For this year, of the 24 kits that have been used in overdose events, 12 have mentioned fentanyl and five have mentioned carfentanil," she said.

"So those are the bootleg illegal forms of those drugs and they've certainly found a place in the Winnipeg drug market."

Street Connections, which is run by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said 113 naloxone kits have been distributed so far this year. 1:20

Marshall said it's not known how many of the people who received naloxone kits for overdoses have died.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service administered naloxone to more than 700 people in Winnipeg in 2016, Marshall said.

Last December the Manitoba government invested $30,000 to pay for 1,500 naloxone kits for Winnipeg police officers. The Winnipeg Police Service said its members have administered naloxone four times.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service distributed more than 700 naloxone kits. In fact, members of the service administered naloxone to more than 700 people.
    Mar 22, 2017 8:32 AM CT