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Ontario Opioid Crisis: Chair of Acton BIA Suggests Naloxone Kits Should be in Every Business

Ontario Opioid Crisis: Chair of Acton BIA Suggests Naloxone Kits Should be in Every Business

Naloxone is a medicine that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. If someone is having a opioid overdose, it is administered by spraying into the nostrils, which then acts to remove opioids from the opioid receptors and will temporarily bind the naloxone to the receptors instead. This gives time for first responders to arrive on scene.

(Photo: Sticker outside of Profile Hair Salon)

As of right now in Ontario, only pharmacies carry free naloxone kits for shoppers to take home. The Ministry of Health of Ontario started rolling out naloxone kits in 2016 in order to combat the opioid crisis. According to Shoppers Drugmart website, “an opioid overdose can happen to anyone taking an opioid. If you, a family member or a friend are taking an opioid, including prescription opioids, get a Naloxone Kit. This is particularly important if there are children in the household.”

Monica Parker-Galway, owner of Profile Hair Salon of Acton and Chair of the Acton BIA believes that naloxone should be carried in every business in Acton and throughout Ontario. Galway comments, “it is important to have because I believe it will save lives and just because you call 911 doesn't mean they will get there on time.”

Stats from Halton Region say, “From January to June 2021, the rate of opioid-related deaths among residents of any age was 3.5 deaths per 100,000 in Halton (compared to 2.3 during the first half of 2020) and 9.6 deaths per 100,000 in Ontario (compared to 7.3 during the first half of 2020).”

According to Global News,

“Between March 2020 and January 2021, around 2,500 people died from opioid-related causes, the government said. Of that, about 30 percent of the victims were construction workers, officials added. They said among industries, construction workers are by far the most impacted by opioid overdoses.”

Now it is being pushed by the Ontario Government to keep naloxone kits in high-risk areas such as bars and nightclubs where opioid use is common. Monte McNaughton.Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development shared to The Canadian Press, “Everyone in our province knows someone who has been impacted by the opioid epidemic, these are brothers, sisters, mothers and daughters, and we need to do everything in our power to save lives.”

The “Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act” passed in 2017 protects anyone who seeks help from overdose, whether the person(s) having the overdose, or the person(s) who called 911 to seek help for someone experiencing an overdose. After administering naloxone it is important to call 911 immediately as the effects of naloxone are not permanent. Often the kits have 2 doses per kit. If the first dose does not create a response, one is recommended to try a second dose. If the first dose does create a response, one may administer a second dose while waiting for first responders to arrive if it begins to wear off.

(Photo: Naloxone kit)

The Ontario Ministry of Health website has shared testimonials regarding the success of naloxone and offers methods of receiving naloxone kits. The OMH website also provides testimonies from pharmacists and health providers, George Daoud, Hamilton Community Pharmacist shares “I've used and given numerous naloxone kits out and the success stories just keep rolling in. They directly save people!”

More information and testimonials can be found on the OMH website located, here. Naloxone kits are available in local pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall and are free to take home. Galway also encourages locals to have a naloxone kit themselves, “it will always be handy,” she says, “and most importantly save lives.”


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