Emergency Department Naloxone Access Project
Emergency Department Naloxone Access Project (2016-2017)
The Peterborough Police Service with PDS and other supporting organizations received funding in August 2016 from the Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing program to work with the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) to implement a naloxone distribution kit program through the hospital’s emergency department.
What was the Project?
The goal of this project was to arm individuals who are at risk of overdose and their families with a life-saving harm reduction tool. Through this partnership, the emergency department staff received training to distribute take-home naloxone kits to emergency room patients at risk of an opioid overdose.
In recent years, accidental deaths due to opioid overdoses and poisonings have steadily increased. Opioid overdose is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death in Ontario, and opioid-related deaths more than double the rate of fatalities resulting from traffic collisions.
Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids (such as morphine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl) can slow or halt breathing, resulting in a loss of consciousness. Administering naloxone can help to temporarily restore normal breathing, preventing brain damage or even death.
Research shows that with minimal training, people with no medical background can recognize and treat an overdose with naloxone as successfully as a healthcare provider. Additionally, individuals are empowered by the ability to save lives, and naloxone distribution programs help reduce stigma towards people who use drugs. Naloxone does not replace the need for emergency medical care but can help prevent deaths and reduce irreversible, long-term complications associated with opioid overdose.
Take-Home Naloxone Distribution Programs are an evidence-based approach with positive benefits and are sought after by our communities. In order to effectively treat opioid addiction, it is necessary to ensure that the individuals who use opioids are alive to receive treatment.