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Pick up a naloxone kit, potentially save a life says U-Turn head

Jeff Bourne, executive director at U-Turn in Carbonear, is happy to help educate the public about the use of naloxone kits.
Jeff Bourne, executive director at U-Turn in Carbonear, is happy to help educate the public about the use of naloxone kits. - Chris Lewis

CARBONEAR, N.L.

Picking up a free naloxone kit in Carbonear could potentially save a friend’s life, says U-Turn executive director Jeff Bourne.

Naloxone – often referred to by the brand name Narcan — is a medication used to combat the effect of an opioid overdose.

Naloxone kits come with the medication itself, and tools to administer the drug to reverse a suspected opioid overdose.
Naloxone kits come with the medication itself, and tools to administer the drug to reverse a suspected opioid overdose.

Kits containing the medication to reverse an overdose, as well as the necessary equipment and training to administer it, can be obtained free of charge from the U-Turn addiction treatment centre in Carbonear.

According to Bourne, there is an increasing need for such kits in the province, and he is more than happy to educate the public on how to use the kits to stop a potentially fatal opioid overdose.

“We’re talking about something that could possibly save your friend’s life,” Bourne told The Compass, noting it takes just a few minutes of training on how to use the kit. “It’s not a long or hard process, but it’s important for people to know in this day and age. I think everyone should have one of these somewhere in their house, because you really never know.”

Bourne says since August of 2018, U-Turn has provided six kits to the public.

He assures anonymity is a top priority. Those who pick up a kit are only asked for information about age and gender; they do not need to give their name.

Bourne also warned the kits are not a final solution. In the case of an overdose, he said, paramedics should always be called. The dosages in the kits are capable of combatting overdose symptoms for approximately half an hour to an hour, while the effects of opioids can long outlast that amount of time. Therefore, follow-up medical attention is recommended.

In the event that someone given naloxone is not actually experiencing an overdose, Bourne says the naloxone will not have any other effects on them, and will simply flush out of their system.

Naloxone kits are not just for regular users of opioids.

“You might have a group of guys who only touch opioids once every couple years when they get together over the holidays or something, and it just so happens that what they have is laced with fentanyl. They’d have no way of knowing,” said Bourne, adding that laced drugs are becoming more common lately, with fentanyl-related deaths across the world becoming all too common.

“If one of them has one of these kits, and knows how to use it, instead of having a group of guys dead in one night, they could use the naloxone and survive something potentially fatal.”

According to Bourne, drug users can never know what they’re getting.

“There’s cocaine being laced with fentanyl, for whatever reason, and by the time it reaches Newfoundland and Labrador, it might have been passed through 10 more hands. So who knows what else was cut into it by then? That’s why I think everybody should have one of these on them – it’s just too risky these days.”

For more information on how to obtain a kit, contact Bourne at the U-Turn centre, at (709) 595-3223.

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