Don’t know anyone who would abuse drugs? The epidemic of drug overdosing won’t affect you? Unfortunately, it’s no longer true. Opiates may be obtained through both legal and illicit means, affecting all of us.
Did you know that fentanyl, an opiate that has been implicated in many drug toxicity deaths, can be found in other illicit and party drugs? Drug use, only once, can result in overdose and death. If it isn’t you, it can be someone’s child, spouse or parent, who could be provided an opioid-laced substance. Opiate exposure knows no barriers, it affects the poor and wealthy, young and old, healthy and unwell, law abiding and law breaker.
Did you know that fentanyl can pass into your bloodstream on touch? A child who picks up a fentanyl patch from the garbage pail can absorb a lethal dose. Fentanyl and other opiates are legally prescribed for pain, and it’s amazing how curious youngsters can access your most guarded items.
We want to protect our families from harm by avoidance. For true protection, know that we can’t always prevent, but we can prepare for the worst. In the case of drug toxicity, a Take Home Naloxone Kit (THNK), may save a life, perhaps your own or a loved ones. THNK is available without prescription and requires minimal training. These kits can be picked up at centres throughout Canada at no cost, just search online for ‘naloxone kit’, or call your local health authority. In many provinces these kits are covered by your provincial health through your pharmacy. Your pharmacist can provide information about naloxone injections, how to access them, and receive training.
You’ve heard of the overdose crisis, sadly overshadowed by the pandemic, but no less growing in many communities. Its growth through illicit drug use of heroin, cocaine and opiates, has crept to recreational drug use. Exposure has grown to affect those who are unknowingly given opiate-laced products. One dose can take away a life, but a THNK can save it.
THNK are small, easily carried and should be part of any emergency kit. Have one available at home, school, work – and at any gathering site. You can lead others to get trained and become more knowledgeable of what’s happening around us, so we can all be prepared. If you receive an opiate prescription, talk to your pharmacist about having a naloxone kit in your home for that “just in case” situation.