VICTORIA, B.C. – More than one million naloxone kits have been shipped to sites across the province since the start of the Take Home Naloxone program in 2012.
The BC CDC says naloxone has helped save many lives however those working in the field and people with lived and/or living experience of substance use have emphasized that overdoses can be preventable and naloxone is not enough.
“Naloxone is a life-saving tool for sure, but it is not enough,” said Jessica Van Norren, a program manager with Rain City Housing & Support Society who advises BCCDC as a person with lived or living experience of substance use through the Peer2Peer program. “Five years into the overdose crisis and we are still losing our friends, family, and colleagues at unprecedented numbers. I have responded to hundreds of overdoses, and all but one has been reversed. In a time of a poisoning epidemic, and now benzos now being in our substances, naloxone is not enough.”
In 2016, the overdose crisis in the province was declared a public health emergency, causing the Take Home Naloxone to ramp up. This introduced a policy change that removed the need for a prescription to get a kit. This also initiated the need for the program to expand to community sites and pharmacies across the province.
Currently, there are more than 1,860 distribution sites across the province and 272,000 naloxone kits were shipped last year—2020.
For those experiencing this crisis first-hand, 12 letters have been written and are available on the Toward the Heart website. These letters are from those who are a part of PEEP and Peer2Peer organizations.