Saskatchewan Becomes Third Province to Unschedule Naloxone
Life-saving Medication Will Soon be Available Through Community Organizations
Saskatchewan residents wanting a take home naloxone (THN) kit will have more options for accessing those kits in the coming weeks.
The Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals has made an administrative bylaw change to allow the drug naloxone to be more widely available. This follows similar moves in Alberta and British Columbia. Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
“We want to ensure naloxone is available where and when it is needed without barriers,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “This change allows our community-based organizations (CBOs) to play a key role in getting THN kits into the hands of individuals at risk.”
Naloxone was previously listed as a Schedule II Drug, meaning that it was only available from a pharmacist. It was kept behind the counter to ensure pharmacists provide individuals with training on how to administer the drug before purchasing a kit.
This administrative change allows naloxone to be issued without involvement of a pharmacist and in locations other than pharmacies, making it easier for individuals to access THN kits and for CBOs who work with individuals at risk of an opioid overdose to distribute kits to their clients.
“The Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals supports the Ministry of Health in moving naloxone to an unscheduled status,” Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals Registrar Jeana Wendel said. “We feel this will further improve access for the people of Saskatchewan to obtain lifesaving Take Home Naloxone kits and help prevent further deaths due to overdoses. We encourage the public to connect with their local community pharmacy for further information on accessing Take Home Naloxone kits.”
The Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority will work with key CBOs to provide THN kits in the coming weeks.
The THN program is available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority in 17 communities across the province, including Saskatoon, Regina, North Battleford, Kamsack, Yorkton, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Estevan, Kindersley, Buffalo Narrows, Swift Current, Melfort, Nipawin, Tisdale and Meadow Lake.
The THN program expanded to the community of Meadow Lake earlier this month and is expected to launch in Lloydminster in the coming days.
For a list of sites where THN kits can be provided for free to individuals at risk and those who are likely to witness an overdose, visit www.publications.gov.sk.ca/redirect.cfm?p=85696&i=106763.
Recent numbers indicate that THN kits are already available for purchase in approximately 126 community pharmacies across the province. For a list of community pharmacies that sell THN kits, visit https://www.skpharmacists.ca/patients/naloxone.
It is important to note that even after naloxone is administered, further medical treatment is required. Call 911 immediately if you suspect an overdose.
For education and resources on opioids, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/opioids.