Just-released inmates will be the first people in Ontario to receive free doses of the recently approved naloxone nasal spray as part of the province's strategy to curb opioid use.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says it is working closely with corrections officials to ensure at-risk inmates are sent home with the drug overdose antidote upon release as part of a massive provincial government effort to curb opioid addiction by modernizing prescription and treatment measures.
The province is also planning to make naloxone nasal spray available to others in at risk situations.
"[We] are exploring options for providing naloxone nasal spray to first responders and eligible organizations through the Ontario Naloxone Program," said ministry spokesman David Jensen.
Eligible organizations include:
- Public Health Units (PHU) that manage a core Needle Exchange Program (NEP)
- Community-based organizations that have been contracted by their local PHU to manage a core NEP
- Ministry-funded Hepatitis C Teams.
Nasal spray more user-friendly
Naloxone nasal spray was approved in early October by Health Canada as an over-the-counter antidote for overdose.
The alternative, also available without a prescription to self-identifying users, is the same medication but administered by intramuscular injection.
People who work with opioid users have long advocated for the spray version saying it is simpler for people to use, especially in a crisis situation.
"The one issue we've always had is people's reluctance to use syringes so having nasal naloxone will eliminate that barrier completely," says Violet Umanetz, Outreach Manager with Waterloo-based Sanguen Health Centre.
She salutes the province's move to make the nasal spray available to inmates leaving correctional facilities, as she says they often start using again upon release.
"Their tolerance to any substance they've been using prior to incarceration has dropped significantly and they may not be aware that they are at a higher risk of overdose."
Inmates currently receive upon release informational wallet cards about how to prevent an opioid overdose and how to access free injectable naloxone from the pharmacy.
High price tag
The cost of naloxone nasal spray is significantly higher than its injectable counterpart and it is an issue that has been raised in other parts of Canada where the nasal spray is also available.
Pharmacist Maercel Laporte with Sarnia's Bluewater Methadone Clinic said there is a $70 difference between the two medications and he suggests it takes more nasal spray to be effective.
"The cost of providing naloxone to newly released inmates is still being determined," Jensen told CBC News.
Latest USA News
- Province speeds up nominee program
- Horrific details emerge in tiny toddler's murder case
- We know you're bluffing, Gary... and that's too bad
- Septuagenarian running to hall of fame honour
- Trudeau: 'trusted' U.S. administration said Assad responsible for gas attack
- Police chief not sure what's behind rise in 911 calls, violent crimes
- RCMP confirm East Selkirk triple shooting a double murder-suicide
- Kinew determined to shake his past, NDP's in bid for leadership
- Health reform hitting hard
- Major surgery for city hospitals
- Canadian labour leader Bob White dead, instrumental in creating CAW
- Trudeau sends letter apologizing for responding in French to English questions
- Trouba gets pair for his Malkin-like head hit
- Loblaw resets passwords for all PC Plus accounts following security breach
- For some festival attendees, the rain on the plains is hardly a pain
- Court hearing on city's growth fees rescheduled
- Tensions emerge in Manitoba border town as more migrants seek refuge
- Manitoba on fire at 5-0
- Conservative group cancels speech by Yiannopoulos
- Plane carrying 5 people hits Australian shopping mall
- Mayor Bowman drafts request for public inquiry into police headquarters project
- Bell acquisition of MTS all clear to go ahead March 17
- Brandon officers face driving charges after IIU review
- Food for thought: dirty, potentially dangerous spots closed, fined
- WestJet pilot orders pizza for rerouted Air Canada passengers in Fredericton
- We meat again
- A silent late-night ride on a bus to madness
- Canada Goose files for public offering on Toronto and New York exchanges
- Stuart McLean, host of CBC Radio's 'Vinyl Cafe,' has died
- Murder suspect in bus driver's death has long criminal record
- Former Blue Bombers executive is Siloam Mission's new quarterback
- Child-safety cases top priority: chief justice
- Bowman speaks out on 'reprehensible' anti-Semitic threat
- Barren beauty
- Brother and sister both snag junior curling championship victories
- Nurse shortage forcing WRHA to close QuickCare clinic
- Crown doubles price of Medical Arts Building
- Overhaul of road repair contracting process hits speed bump
- 5 dead, 8 wounded in airport shooting; US veteran arrested
- Can you hear him now? Pallister uses phone in Costa Rica; email for emergencies only