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Life-saving drug for opioid overdoses to be offered for free in Quebec pharmacies

Life-saving drug for opioid overdoses to be offered for free in Quebec pharmacies
From CBC - September 13, 2017

The Quebec government has announced that naloxone, the fast-acting drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, will soonbe free and accessible in pharmacies across the province in an effort to prevent a full-blown fentanyl crisis.

"Making it available for free, that is the answer," said Quebec Health Minister GatanBarrette."But the real answer to this growing situation is about prevention, and there will be a comprehensive strategy put on the table by the end of this year."

The measureis part of a larger plan municipal and public health authorities are rolling outas the number of drug overdoses and deaths related to fentanyl, a powerful opioidand painkiller, has spiked in Montreal over the last year.

Dr. Carole Morissette, the doctor in charge of the response to the fentanylcrisis with Montreal Public Health, recently calledfentanyl'sgrowing presence in the citya "public health emergency."

Barrette said thesituation in Quebec right now is not as critical as the oneunfolding in British Columbia, wheremore than four people a day are dying from illicit drug use, and most street drugs arefound to be laced withfentanyl.

But Barrette said providing wider access to naloxone is a crucial step inpreventing more deaths in Quebec.

"We are taking measures and putting in place those measures so that we do not get there," he said, adding that it was not "a question of costs, but a question of saving lives."

The decision is being praised by frontline community workers,who have been pushing for easier access to naloxone.

Police officers, firefighters to be able to give drug

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