More than 50,000 opioid overdoses have been reversed using free naloxone kits distributed in the province since 2012, the BC Centre for Disease Control has said.
The Take Home Naloxone program has distributed 175,022 kits since it was launched.
“We know that people need to be alive to find their own unique pathway to healing and hope and this announcement tells people using drugs loud and clear that we want them to live,” said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions.
”Every free naloxone kit distributed in BC is a statement that we are committed as neighbours, as a community, as a province, to saving lives.”
While the program began in 2012, the vast majority of the kits out there – 169,949 – were distributed from 2016 on.
Because the Centre does not know what exactly happens to each kit, officials believe the actual number used to prevent overdoses is much higher than 50,000.
“The Take Home Naloxone program is a crucial component of the emergency response to the overdose crisis in our province and I'm proud of our partners and community members for their dedication and working quickly and creatively to get this life-saving medication into the hands of people who need it,” said Dr Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead for the Centre.
“However, people need access to a safer supply of substances so they don't use the highly toxic street drugs that puts them at risk of an overdose.”
The Centre is currently shipping between 17,000 and 19,000 of the kits every month.