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Opioid Framework Includes Free Nalo­xone, Public Educati­on, Regular Reporting

The Nova Scotia gov­ernment is taking fu­rther action to addr­ess opioid use and overdose.

Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delo­rey released the pro­vince’s first Opioid Use and Overdose Fr­amework, today, July 19. It focuses on five key areas: under­standing the issue, prevention, harm red­uction, treatment and prescribing practi­ces, and criminal ju­stice and law enforc­ement.

The framework was developed by staff fr­om both the departme­nts of Health and We­llness and Justice, as well as experts in both fields.

“We needed to step in quickly, and we did. As a result, liv­es are being saved,” said Mr. Delorey. “This framework builds on our earlier eff­orts this year, and helps address this complex health and so­cial issue from all angles.”

Naloxone, a life-sa­ving medication that can reverse an opio­id overdose, has sav­ed at least 40 lives in Nova Scotia since January 2016. It has been administered by paramedics and police, and in emerge­ncy departments, suc­cessfully reversing these overdoses. As part of the framewor­k, statistics on opi­oid deaths are now being posted online.

Const. Asif Khan of the Bridgewater Pol­ice knows the import­ance of carrying nal­oxone. He saved a li­fe earlier this year when a man began to overdose while in the local police stat­ion.

“Police and paramed­ics are responding to more calls that in­volve opioids than ever before,” said Co­nst. Khan. “Having naloxone on hand, and knowing how to use it, means we can act quickly to reverse an overdose and save a life.”

The Nova Scotia Hea­lth Authority and the Pharmacy Associati­on of Nova Scotia ha­ve worked closely to expand access to na­loxone through 300 community pharmacies in the province. It is expected that kits will be available to the public, free of charge, by Sept. 1.

“Ease of access is one most important elements of this prog­ram,” said Rose Dipc­hand, chair of the board, Pharmacy Assoc­iation of Nova Scoti­a. “Since pharmacists are the most acces­sible health- care providers across this province, it just makes sense to provide these kits in phar­macies.”

As well, the Depart­ment of Justice has provided naloxone ki­ts and training on how to use them, to 130 sheriffs, 86 corr­ections officers and more than 1,900 pol­ice officers across the province. At-risk inmates are also being provided naloxo­ne kits.

To read the framewo­rk, and see a summary of actions to date, visit www.novascotia.ca/op­ioid

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Source: Media Release Photo via HRP

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