Woman gets naloxone training in case it can save addicted friend's life

Residents in the Moncton area take a course on how to administer the life-saving drug naloxone, in case of overdose.

42 people learn how to administer the drug naloxone, used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency

Participants at a course in Moncton practice injecting naloxone into an orange. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News)

Jane Evans was so worried about a friend addicted to opioids that she took a course in how to administer the life-saving drug naloxone, in case her friend overdosed.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation.

Evans said people who buy drugs from dealers can never know what will happen to them.

"You don't know what's in the drug you're taking — they put things in — ridiculous drugs that you wouldn't imagine they would do so," Evans said. 

On Wednesday, Evans and 41 other people from community groups in Moncton took part in a training session in how to administer naloxone.

Jane Evans is worried about a friend overdosing. She applied to take training in how to administer naloxone and was accepted. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

AIDS Moncton partnered with Medavie HealthEd to offer the course.

In September, the Moncton-based medical marijuana company Organigram donated money for more than 500 naloxone kits. Some of those were handed out after at the end of the course.

Evans said her addicted friend knows she took the naloxone training and thinks it's ridiculous. Evans doesn't care.

CBC reporter Kate Letterick went at the training session where people learned how and when to administer the life-saving drug. 10:44

"I'm trying to save someone's life," Evans said. "If I take three hours out of my day to save someone's life, then it was worth three weeks of my life, never mind three hours."

Danny Gallant, manager of the homeless shelter at Harvest House Atlantic, was also grateful for the training.

He said he's sometimes encountered drug addiction on a daily basis.

Danny Gallant, manager of the Harvest House Atlantic shelter, says he sees drug addiction on the job and is grateful for the naloxone training. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

"Being able to have this added protection for them, so that if they ever find themselves in an overdose scenario then we can help them," he said. "And if we can help save their life just by giving them a needle that's a great thing to have."

Gallant said he's often frightened by what drugs do to people.

"We get a lot of people that will come in after using," he said. "They're definitely on the nod or appear to be under the influence, not necessarily to the point of an overdose, but there has been times where I've felt very scared for the individuals, so we have called 911."  

Now, Gallant said, he will be able to assess a situation more clearly and feel better having a naloxone kit on hand. He expects the deadly painkiller fentanyl will become a problem in the city.

Debby Warren, the executive director of AIDS Moncton, hands out naloxone kits to participants in the course. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

"Moncton is a hub city for a lot of things, and so this is definitely something that will hit us.

"Fentanyl is one part of the problem. Opiates is a very broad spectrum. There's a lot of drugs that are very scary going on in our city at the moment, so we definitely need some more help and some more awareness and teaching."

Debby Warren, the executive Director of AIDS Moncton, said the training, which allowed the 42 participants to practise by injecting oranges, was meant to be proactive.

"Let's be prepared and be proactive instead of react — the reaction isn't always pleasant, is it?" Warren said. "The end result isn't pleasant, so we want to be on the other side of that."

Naloxone is available without a prescription, but pharmacies in New Brunswick are not required to carry it. It can be bought for about $40, and a pharmacist has to provide the half-hour training in how to inject it.