Friends of opioid users can now get naloxone for free, says Sask. Health

The Government of Saskatchewan is expanding its take home naxolone kit program.

Ministry of Health says take-home kits will be free for those who may 'witness' an overdose

Take-home naloxone kits are now available at the Richmond Hospital emergency department and some Richmond community centres. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health says from now on, friends and families of opioid users have free access to the life-saving drug antidote naloxone.

Until Wednesday, only two groups of people could get take-home naloxone kits free of charge. Those who self-declared as addicts could access the drug for free through a provincial program at 16 designated clinics, including in Yorkton, Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Buffalo Narrows. 

First Nations people can access naloxone for free at pharmacies through a federal benefits program.  

Now, the provincial ministry says free kits will be provided at designated clinics anyone who may witness an overdose, including friends and family members of opioid users, who before were only able to receive education and training on how to use one. 

A spokesperson says the ministry has spent $94,000 for the Saskatchewan Health Authority to offer the free take-home kit program. It says the cost of the expansion will depend on the demand for the kits.

The government says kits are available for purchase in 84 different pharmacies in 29 different communities. A consultation with pharmacist is required beforehand. 

The ministry says the SHA provides training and education about how to use naloxone.