Fentanyl Crisis: What Can the Government Do to Intervene?

A study by the Lancet Public Health has found that the rapid expansion of the British Columbia’s program of Take-Home Naloxone has significantly reduced the total number of all the fentanyl-related deaths as a result of overdoses in 2016.

The British Columbia’s center for disease control has developed a model that can now be used in estimating the overall effectiveness of the different public-health interventions when it comes to preventing opioid overdose deaths in the country.

The first use of this model helped to examine the total impact of the Take-Home Naloxone program expansion by quantifying the overall number of all the deaths related to an overdose in British Columbia that were successfully averted when the naloxone kits were used.

Some of the key findings included in the process:

  • Rapid, wide-scale distribution of all the naloxone kits which effectively prevents the overdose deaths
  • For every ten Take-home naloxone kits used, at least one death was reported to have been prevented
  • In the period January 1st and 31st, 2016, the total expansion of the THN program kits had prevented a total of over 226 deaths in British Columbia which meant that about 26% of all the possible overdose-related deaths were prevented.

In general, the use of the THN kits has helped to save a lot of lives which would have been lost from the overdose during this crisis, explains Judy Darcy, the current Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. Judy also says that the access and use of the THN program have been expanded further since its study was completed and has already increased to over 80% of all community pharmacies and hundreds of other locations and is also in the front line to be used by families and workers across British Columbia. It seems to be working well and has so far been able to keep more people alive even as they work to try and find pathways to home and recovery.

Dr. Mark Gilbert, medical director of BCCDC also explains that the faster and more widespread the use of the THN program is distributed countrywide, the more lives it will save. Dr. Mark also hopes that the use of this effective new program can soon be adopted by other parts of Canada and the rest of the world as well to save more lives to help reduce the number of deaths that result from these drug overdose cases.

Quick facts about the THN program:

  • Since its launch in 2012, over 75,000 of the THN kits have been distributed throughout British Columbia.
  • No-charge kits are yet available to those victims at higher risk of opioid overdose.
  • More than 1,500 active distribution sites have been opened in British Columbia, including hospitals and other correctional facilities as well.

The British Columbia center for disease control is currently providing health leadership through detection, surveillance, prevention, consultation, detection, and treatment services throughout it many centers to the BC civilians. The center also provides diagnostic as well as treatment services for all citizens with diseases regarding the public health importance as well as analytical and policy support to all the levels of government authority and health care centers.