As drug overdose deaths continue to rise, B.C.’s community pharmacies are taking a stand in being part of the solution in the province’s opioid crisis. A staggering 1,200 deaths were attributed to drug overdoses this year, according to a November B.C. Coroners Service report, up from 607 at this time in 2016. And the numbers continue to rise.
Starting this month, community pharmacies across the province have begun to stock free naloxone kits to those in need.
In an announcement today, Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions stated the province would put life-saving naloxone kits into the hands of people at risk of overdose or likely to witness an overdose at community pharmacies throughout B.C.
Held at London Drugs Pharmacy in New Westminster, Dr. Jane Buxton of the BC Centre for Disease Control, Alex Dar Santos from the BC Pharmacy Association and Chris Chiew of London Drugs Pharmacy joined Minister Darcy in the announcement.
The BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) had been advocating for community pharmacies to be added as distribution points for the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Kit across B.C., making the life-saving kit available to high-risk individuals at the community pharmacy level. The THN program was developed by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2012 to provide training and naloxone kits to people at risk of opioid overdose.
“B.C. pharmacies play a significant role in being a part of the solution in the opioid crisis as one of the most accessible health-care providers in nearly every community across the province. Pharmacists are trained, experienced and knowledgeable not only in medication but in providing an essential healthcare service to our patients and to our community,” says Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. “Providing the life-saving naloxone kit from the community pharmacy level to treat opioid overdose is an important step in dealing with the current crisis.”
Approximately 1,900 kits were distributed throughout B.C. to almost 220 locations including London Drugs, Save-on-Foods, and various independent pharmacies. More community pharmacies will continue to register to distribute naloxone kits to those at high risk.
To find a pharmacy that provides the free Take Home Naloxone kit near you, visit Toward the Heart THN Site Finder. Community pharmacies will be listed in the same section of the website and will be regularly updated.
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The data in the map is based off information available on the Toward The Heart website, as of December 22, 2017. For the most accurate list, please consult the Toward The Heart website. For kit availability and store hours, please contact the pharmacy directly.