Attn: Nurses, Health Directors and Frontline Care Providers Serving First Nations in BC
As part of the ongoing strategy to reduce harm from opioid drug use and save lives, the FNHA has added naloxone nasal spray as a benefit effective April 4, 2018. Nasal naloxone is the same chemical compound as injection naloxone. Both reverse the effects of an opioid overdose; the only difference is the delivery method.
Adding nasal naloxone as a drug benefit is intended to save lives. For people with a discomfort or fear of needles it is easier to administer than injectable naloxone and can carry less stigma in some communities. The FNHA encourages those at risk of an opioid overdose, and people close to them, to have a naloxone kit—whether it is injectable or nasal—and the training to use it.
To access nasal naloxone, First Nations in BC may request it directly from the pharmacy with a Status number and Personal Health Number. Nasal or injectable naloxone may be requested for clients' personal use or to protect an at-risk person. Individuals requesting naloxone do not have to specify who it is for.
Because nasal naloxone is newly listed, there may be access issues and we encourage our clients to call ahead to their pharmacy to ensure it is available. Training for nasal naloxone is done at the pharmacy counter.
We recommend that Health Centres serving First Nations and Indigenous peoples continue to access and bulk order injectable naloxone kits through the Toward the Heart program. Injectable naloxone continues to be the most widely available option through harm reduction programs.
The FNHA's Indigenous Wellness Team supports First Nations communities and service partners to understand the opioid overdose crisis through an Indigenous lens, and how community partners, providers and those at risk can prevent overdose through culturally safe, community-driven approaches to harm reduction. To request support from our Harm Reduction staff please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
First Nations in BC are disproportionally impacted by the opioid overdose crisis. This change ensures BC's First Nations population has the same access to life-saving treatments as First Nations across Canada.
For more information and resources to support your work, visit us online www.fnha.ca/overdose.
Dr. Shannon McDonaldActing Chief Medical OfficerFirst Nations Health Authority
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