Group using Overdose Awareness Day to demand easier access to naloxone

By | August 31, 2020

WINNIPEG — Winnipeggers joined families around the world in marking international Overdose Awareness Day with an event at Stephen Juba Park.

The event on Waterfront Drive aimed to increase knowledge of naloxone, a drug used to combat the effects of opioids.

In Manitoba, naloxone is considered a Schedule 2 drug, meaning it’s not always easy to access.

“Right now, you’re limited on getting it and there are restrictions and a limited amount of how many you can get,” said Arlene Last-Kolb, a co-chapter leader of Overdose Awareness Manitoba and Moms Stop the Harm.

A Schedule 2 drug requires professional intervention from the pharmacist (e.g. patient assessment and patient consultation) prior to sale.

“And right now, they are not giving them out at every hospital,” she went on to add. “Someone leaving the hospital after experiencing an overdose isn’t getting a kit.”

Last-Kolb said, on average 182 people die from overdoses a year.

“If we have a high number of overdoses in Manitoba, the antidote should be free and available,” said Last-Kolb.

She is calling on the provincial government to create a system that mirrors Alberta and B.C.’s. In those provinces, naloxone is widely available and can be picked up for free.

Overdose awareness is a passionate issue for Last-Kolb, as her son died of drug poisoning.

CTV News reached out to the province, but has not heard back.

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