Take-Home Naloxone program expands to emergency departments in Annapolis Valley, South Shore and South West Nova Scotia

Take-Home Naloxone kits now available at emergency departments in Western Nova Scotia
Take-Home Naloxone kits now available at emergency departments in Western Nova Scotia. (contributed)

Nova Scotia Health Authority rolled out the first phase of a new program earlier this year that allows emergency department staff to provide patients with take-home naloxone kits in the Western Zone (Annapolis Valley, South Shore and South West Nova Scotia). 

Robert Zwicker, director of health services in the Western Zone, says this program provides an extra layer of patient support by presenting another opportunity to access naloxone kits.

“In some communities, our emergency departments are the only 24-hour facilities. We know the emergency department isn’t necessarily the first spot to access a kit, but we are happy to be part of the availability for people who can’t get one because of reduced hours in a pharmacy.” 

Any adult can get a naloxone kit from the emergency department, but the target population is people who are coming to the emergency department already for a health care need. 

Individuals can also access kits without a prescription, free of charge and confidentially at 280 community pharmacies across Nova Scotia, however the emergency department is another step to creating a barrier-free program.

“Maybe someone is there because they have an infection and based upon a health care provider’s conversation with that person they become aware that substance use is an issue for this individual and they will be offered a kit; this could include their friends or family members,” says Amanda Hudson, Nova Scotia take-home naloxone program coordinator. 

“Recognizing the unique needs of a more rural place is an important piece of the program. A take-home naloxone kit isn’t something you want to have to find in an emergency. You want to have the kit and have the training.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority is taking the lessons learned from the roll out of this program in the Western Zone, and exploring the expansion of the program to other emergency departments across the province.  

Naloxone kits are available free of charge to anyone at risk of opioid overdose. Family, friends those who may witness an overdose can also get a kit. Get your take home naloxone kit today. Learn more: http://www.nsnaloxone.com/