Video was made by Linsey Raschkowan and Kayla Douglas
Picking up the antidote to a life-threatening illegal narcotic might seem like an intimidating task, but in reality, it’s as easy as picking up any other prescription in Ontario pharmacies.
Accessing naloxone, the antidote used in fentanyl and other opioid-related overdoses, is more important than ever on a university campus. Opioid overdose deaths have jumped significantly in the last year, with over 850 deaths in Ontario alone since 2016.
Last week, two colleagues and I went to the pharmacy desk at a Shoppers Drug Mart at Dundas Square to find out just how easy it is to get a naloxone kit.
As part of the process, we were given a five minute demonstration on how to use naloxone by the pharmacist. The kit comes with a written description of the steps and all the information that anyone administering naloxone needs to know.
The pharmacist went through everything clearly and answered all our questions.
Naloxone is widely available at pharmacies across the province. The kits are funded by the government of Ontario, which reimburses pharmacies for the cost of the naloxone kits and pays them a fee for training the public. Anyone with an Ontario health card can receive a naloxone kit at no cost.
The drug is delivered through a syringe, so those squeamish about needles may have some difficulty. If the first shot does not work, the kits come equipped with a second vial, alcohol swabs and rubber gloves.
If you’re not sure whether a person has overdosed or not, injecting naloxone is harmless.
So if it turns out that a person just happens to be a heavy sleeper, the naloxone will just make them feel a little nauseous.
For any opioid emergency on Ryerson’s campus, the Shoppers Drug Mart is located in the basement of 10 Dundas East.