Nasal naloxone pilot project coming to Edmonton

A $1.5 million pilot project distributing nasal naloxone kits is coming to the Edmonton area, the province announced Wednesday. 

"Everyone has a right to be supported in their recovery and face as few barriers as possible," said Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan.

Luan said the program will begin on Tuesday with kits at the George Spady Centre in downtown Edmonton.

Naloxone is a medication used as a temporary antidote to an opioid overdose. It is typically distributed through a intravenous injection. 

Nasal kits distribute the drug through a patient's nostrils and according to Luan, one spray is the equivalent of five shots of naloxone.

"It's a new tool in our toolbox."

"We wanted to pilot it in the Edmonton region with the hope that by the end of this pilot we'll have firsthand knowledge, information, data, evaluation and recognition come back to us if we want to roll this out to the whole province."

Luan stated there were 1,144 opioid overdose deaths in Alberta in 2020. 

Last week, AHS put out a public service announcement stating that EMS had responded to 55 opioid-related calls in the Edmonton area from May 31 to June 1.

Data from Alberta Health Services reports last May, EMS responded to 108 opioid-related emergencies in Edmonton – a number that doubled to 248 emergency calls last month.