Naloxone kits fly off pharmacy's shelves after reports of Kanata overdoses

An Ottawa pharmacy is reporting a big run on naloxone kits following reports this week of drug overdoses among teenagers in Kanata.

Pharmacist says every parent with a teenager should have a kit in their home

Mark Barnes owns a pharmacy in Vanier, where he still has a good supply of naloxone kits available for free. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

An Ottawa pharmacy is reporting a big run on naloxone kits following reports this week of drug overdoses among teenagers in Kanata.

Since last June when the province loosened the rules around naloxone, Respect Rx Pharmasave in Vanier has given away more than 800 nalaxone kits — including 100 at a meeting for parents Thursday night in Kanata and 50 more Friday at the pharmacy.

100 naloxone kits were made available at Thursday's meeting. By the end of the meeting they had all been taken. (Steve Fischer/CBC)

Owner Mark Barnes said since that Kanata meeting, 300 people have also called asking for training on how to administer the drug, which blocks or reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

He said the kits were mostly being taken by injection drug users, but now a broad range of people have come in looking for naloxone.

"Both users, and parents and friends of opioid users are taking the initiative to prevent [an] overdose, which I think is remarkable" he said.

Ottawa Public Health also promoting the kits

Ottawa Public Health is also promoting the kits, trying to get them into schools, bars, concert venues and homes — anywhere a person might overdose.

The health agency has now listed on its website the 80-plus pharmacies in Ottawa where naloxone is available. 

Barnes said every parent with teenage children should have a kit.

He said with the added risks of pills being laced with fentanyl, anyone taking counterfeit percocets or other fake pills should never take the drug alone.

If out with a group, he said people taking those pills should make sure at least one person does not take any drugs and has a naloxone kit with them.

"I think it's the mission of the Ministry (of Health) to have one of these kits in everyone's hands," Barnes said.

All anyone needs to do to get the kit is take a 15 minute training session at the pharmacy and show an Ontario health card.

Barnes said he still has a good supply of the free kits, as do other pharmacies around Ottawa.