Pharmacists play an important role in the wellness of patients, friends and family impacted by substance use, and are key partners of Alberta’s Community Based Naloxone Program.
The pharmacy team at Pharmasave Rimbey are doing their part by making free naloxone kits available to the community, along with necessary training on their proper use.
“We want people to feel comfortable carrying a naloxone kit,” says Pharmasave Rimbey store operator Marcia Ziegler. “It’s just a good idea – you can think of it in the same terms as carrying a first aid kit or an epipen.”
Community-based naloxone is a lifesaving antidote that can administered by members of the public. Pharmacies began participating in the Community Based Naloxone program in January 2016, and their involvement has grown ever since.
Ziegler is also clear that overdose does not discriminate – although most opioid deaths occur to individuals between the ages of 20 to 59, and the majority are the result of non-pharmaceutical opioids, this does not mean it can’t happen to anybody.
Funded by the Alberta government, the program is free to the public, and does not require community sites to collect personal identifiers to provide a naloxone kit.
“We want people to know that they can remain completely anonymous – we don’t ask for I.D. when coming in to pick up a kit and receive training,” Ziegler says. “You can call us and book time in a private room for a consult and training, so you’ll feel confident about using it.”
Training on correct naloxone kit use can include:
• how to identify an opioid overdose or poisoning
• the importance of rescue breathing
• when to administer naloxone
• the importance of calling 9-1-1 for medical assistance due to the short half-life of the drug
“We also want people to know that if the person did not have an overdose, and does not have opioids in their system, administering naloxone will not affect them,” Ziegler says.
Although training is important so the kits can be used effectively, a naloxone kit can be provided without training. If a person declines training, the staff at Pharmasave Rimbey can provide written materials.
“We’re a small community, and we certainly don’t want to give the wrong impression about what’s happening here, but we also want to provide a way for responsible friends and family to keep each other safe – it’s about saving lives.”
Call 403-843-3714 to speak to the pharmacy team for more information, or visit them at 4934 50th Ave.