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Fentanyl Concerns

In Drugs, Health by Jon Gerrard

I raised concerns about the availability of Naloxone in Manitoba – a drug which is used to treat overdoses of opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl. The Minister of Health has responded by indicating he will be expanding access to naloxone. I also called for a medical detox unit for fentanyl and carfentanyl, which the Minister says he will look at as an option. He has instructed his officials to establish a province wide distribution system. We expect that more than 3,500 kits containing the antidote will be distributed annually within Manitoba.

Early this year 1,300 kits at a cost of $35 each were ordered to be distributed to addicts and their families within Winnipeg. The kits are available through the WRHA’s Street Connections harm-reduction program. Call 204-981-0742 for more information.

But a more broad-based program is needed to make the life-saving drug available in case of overdoses. Research has revealed that the opioid problem in Winnipeg is more severe than thought. The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has responded to 96 emergency calls involving fentanyl during the first 10 months of 2015 where paramedics administered naloxone.