Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jan 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Jeremy Simes
Page: 3


Alberta Health aims to relax its fentanyl antidote rules

Alberta Health is working to make naloxone available to family members
of Albertans addicted to fentanyl.

On Sunday, Metro learned parents aren't allowed to obtain naloxone
kits for their fentanyl-addicted kids.

Naloxone is an antidote that can reverse fentanyl overdoses.

"Alberta Health and our partners recognize that the prescription
requirement for naloxone can be a barrier to access, and we continue
to work with the federal government, and our provincial and
territorial counterparts, to make this drug available to Albertans
without a prescription," said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Alberta Health's
acting chief medical officer of health, in a statement.

Currently, naloxone is defined as a Schedule 1 drug under Health
Canada, meaning it can only be dispensed to a person who has a
prescription, Lavoie added.

"Prescribing standards require that a person receiving a prescription
must first be seen and assessed by a physician or other

A local mom - who doesn't wish to have her name published - was
outraged she couldn't get naloxone for her fentanyl-addicted son.

She's been dealing with her son's fentanyl addiction for months and,
recently, gave him CPR over the holidays before EMS arrived to revive
him, she said.

Lavoie said parents can take their children to distribution sites to
get the kits.

"Although prescriptions for naloxone cannot be given to a third party
without the patient being present, we do want people to know that they
can take their children or loved ones to a family doctor or other
prescriber to request naloxone and to get information about treatment
options," he said.

The mom said she didn't go with her son, 18, to get naloxone prior to
his relapse - he hasn't been home.

"I found out his relapse was on the 23rd (of December) and I had him
in detox on Monday," she said, adding she inquired about the kits
after the incident.

She said she has seen her son in and out of detox centres multiple
times, adding the government isn't doing enough for kids leaving detox

"Even though kits are available, it's just another BandAid solution,"
she said. "The real issue is the lack of detox space and lack of
treatment for middle-class families.

"The amount (of kids) saved by naloxone is a drop in a bucket compared
to the amount we're going to lose (to fentanyl). (Naloxone) is like a
fire extinguisher to a forest fire. We need to bring in the water
bombers now."
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