Overdoses are happening in communities everywhere. Naloxone can save a life. The University of the Fraser Valley is providing free take-home naloxone (thn) kits to students, faculty, and staff.
For more information about overdose prevention, visit gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the opioid crisis?
On April 14, 2016, a public health emergency was declared in BC due to a dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths. 931 deaths occurred in BC in 2016 due to opioid overdose, and more than 1100 deaths have occurred so far in 2017. The rise in overdose deaths is attributed mainly to fentanyl.
What are opioids?
Opioids are substances that are used as analgesics (pain killers). Opioids such as heroin and morphine are derived from the opium plant. Other opioids like methadone and fentanyl are synthetic man made analgesics. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid, 50 - 100 times stronger than morphine.
What happens during an opioid overdose?
The main concern with opioids is that they slow breathing. If too much of an opioid is taken, there is a risk that the individuals breathing will stop, resulting in brain damage or death.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone (narcan) is an opioid antagonist. It is an easy-to-use, safe and effective, lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of overdose from heroin, fentanyl, or other opioid.
How does Naloxone work?
Naloxone, attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, the same receptors that receive heroin and other opioids, and it blocks the opioids for 30-60 minutes to reverse the respiratory depression that would otherwise lead to death from overdose.
Does naloxone only work for opioid overdose?
Yes. Naloxone only reverses the effects of opioids such as heroin, methadone, morphine, opium, codeine, hydromorphone and fentanyl. It does not counter the effects of other types of drugs, such as benzodiazepines (drugs including diazepam, midazolam, or ativan), alcohol, or stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.
Is naloxone safe?
Serious side effects of naloxone are very rare. The most common side effect is opioid withdrawal, since naloxone ejects the opioids from their receptors in the brain. Common opioid withdrawal symptoms are body aches, irritability, sweating, runny nose, and GI upset. Naloxone works only on opioid receptors, if you administer naloxone to an individual who has not overdosed, there will be no effects.
Will naloxone make you high?
No. the only effect of naloxone is to reverse the effect of opioids. It cannot make you high. If you are not using opioids, an injection of naloxone would feel the same as an injection of water.
Can naloxone cause overdose?
No. It is not possible to overdose on naloxone. If a large dose is given to a person with opioids in their system, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Where should I store my take home naloxone (THN) kit?
Store your take home naloxone (THN) kit in a dark and dry place between 25°C/80°F and 5°C/40°F if possible. Do not keep it in your vehicle as temperature fluctuations can compromise the medication. Keep it in a purse or backpack that you carry with you and is easily accessible for use.
Can I get in trouble for carrying and using naloxone?
No. Everyone should carry one as it can help you save a life. The Good Samaritan Act protects anyone who calls 9-1-1- and intervenes in an overdose with a THN kit. Police do not generally attend overdose calls, but if they do, the Good Samaritan Act protects you if you have illicit substances in your possession at the time of an overdose. Call 9-1-1 for all suspected overdoses.
Why have naloxone available at UFV?
Reality is that drugs are available, and people use drugs. Those at most risk of opioid overdose are those between ages 20-49, and who use alone in a private residence. Opioids, including fentanyl, are available in the Fraser Valley, and have been detected in other substances like cocaine and amphetamines. There is potential for an opioid overdose, even in those who do not knowingly use opioids.