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- Naloxone Kits Now Available in Northumberland County to Reduce Risk of Overdose Deaths Due to Opioids -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – A new harm-reduction program in Northumberland County is taking direct aim at preventing deaths due to accidental drug overdoses.

A new Naloxone Kit Distribution Program is being launched in Northumberland County by a local partnership of health, police, emergency medical services, and social service agencies. PARN, a Peterborough-based community agency that provides regional support and health promotion for people infected and affected by HIV, and the Oshawa Community Health Centre are the lead local agencies for the Nalaxone Kit Distribution Program in Northumberland.

Naloxone is an emergency medicine that temporarily revives a person who overdoses on opioids. It is meant as a short-term standby, until the individual can be taken to hospital for proper treatment.

“This is great news that a life-saving medication like Naloxone is now available in our community to help prevent fatal overdoses,”says Shawn Woods, a spokesperson for the program partners, and the Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “If even one life is saved or one accidental overdose is prevented, then the efforts to establish the Naloxone Kit Distribution Program in Northumberland will be well worth it.”

Opioids are strong, highly-addictive prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, morphine, heroin and fentanyl. In recent years, overdose deaths due to the misuse of opioids have been increasing at an alarming rate. Since the year 2000 alone, more than 5,000 Ontarians have died of an opioid overdose (Source: Municipal Drug Strategy Coordinators Network of Ontario), the vast majority of which were unintentional cases, Woods notes.

In Northumberland, the Naloxone Kit Distribution Program will run each month, providing Naloxone kits to opioid users themselves – both those who use the drugs medically or for non-medical reasons. Regardless of why a person takes opioids, Woods notes that any user can be at risk of a drug overdose. In order to receive a Naloxone kit, people will be required to attend a mandatory education session where they will be asked questions to determine if they are eligible for the program. Local residents can find out more information about the Naloxone Kit Distribution Program by calling PARN toll-free at 1-800-361-2895.

Often, an opioid overdose situation is made worse because people will not call 9-1-1 for fear of being arrested, Wood says. “By educating community agencies, first responders, local law enforcement agencies and opioid users about the signs of overdose, how to use Naloxone, and the importance of calling 9-1-1 in an emergency, we feel confident that we can save lives by preventing unintentional overdoses,” she adds.
Northumberland County is the first community within the Health Unit’s region to implement a Naloxone Kit Distribution Program. Once established, Woods says the Northumberland experience could be a model for creating similar distribution programs in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County.

For media inquiries, contact:

Shawn Woods, Manager, Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Chris Jardin, Prevention Education Coordinator, PARN, 1-800-361-2895, ext. 206.

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