Preventing Opioid Overdoses
In addition to having a naloxone kit readily available, there are other ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths.
If you have been prescribed an opioid medication, it should:
- only be taken as prescribed; and
- never be taken with alcohol or other medications (except as prescribed).
The best way to stay safe is to not use illegal drugs at all. People who do use illegal drugs should:
- never use alone;
- start with a small amount;
- know that mixing drugs and/or alcohol could lead to an overdose; and
- only use where you can get help right away.
If you are alone while using drugs, call the National Overdose Response Service hotline at 1-888-688-NORS(6677) for a volunteer who will stay on the line with you and call for help if you need it.
Take Home Naloxone
Anyone who uses opioids, whether obtained by prescription or illegally, is at risk of an opioid overdose. Opioids affect the part of the brain that controls breathing, so when too much of an opioid is taken, breathing slows or stops. Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose temporarily, restoring breathing in a few minutes. It is not a narcotic, is non-addictive, and has no effect if opioids are not present. Naloxone is a safe medication, with few side effects.
Saskatchewan residents who are at risk of an opioid overdose and/or might witness an opioid overdose, such as friends and family of people who use opioids, are eligible for free training and a free Take Home Naloxone kit. The training covers overdose prevention, recognition, and response, including how to administer naloxone.
It’s important to note that Naloxone treatment itself does not replace the need to seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you suspect an overdose.
To find a Take Home Naloxone Program near you call HealthLine 811 or view the Take Home Naloxone Program map.
Naloxone is also available for purchase at pharmacies across Saskatchewan. The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan has a list of pharmacies that carry naloxone.
Naloxone is available for free for First Nations and Inuit clients covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.