What’s Inside a Naloxone Kit?

How the life-saving medication works

animation of items related to opioids
Photo Illustration by The Walrus

In March 2016, the rising opioid crisis pushed Health Canada to approve the non-prescription use of naloxone—a medication that can rapidly, but temporarily, reverse the effects of overdose from opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, and morphine. To coincide with the federal government’s move, seven of the thirteen provinces and territories developed take-home programs at the time, and 500 sites where naloxone kits are distributed were established across Canada. (Today, every province and territory, except for Nunavut, offers take-home programs.) While the kits are often handed out for free through hospitals, safe-injection sites, community organizations, needle-exchange programs, and clinics, they commonly cost providers anywhere between $35 and $125 per kit (and sometimes more).

So how exactly does naloxone work, and what’s inside a kit? Use your cursor to hover over the image below for more information on each component, how they all work together, and the science behind an essential part of the fight against opioids.


The Walrus Staff

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Jennifer Hollett I have been devouring The Walrus's Summer Reading issue and remarking on the quality of all of the contributions from our former and current Fellows. It reminds me that every issue of The Walrus is a culmination of the efforts (including lengthy fact-checking) of the editorial team, the emerging journalists they train, and the generous supporters who make all of this happen.

Through The Walrus Editorial Fellowship Program, we have the privilege of training the next generation of professionals who are passionate about the integrity of journalism. In the Summer Reading issue, 2021 Cannonbury Fellow Connor Garel wrote a piece on Frankie Perez and the art of breaking. Tajja Isen contributed an excerpt from her first book, Some of My Best Friends. Isen, who also began her career at The Walrus as a Cannonbury Fellow, is currently Editor-in-Chief at Catapult magazine.

Our 2022 Chawkers Fellow, Mashal Butt, was instrumental in making sure we got the facts straight in our Summer Reading issue, having fact-checked six features, including Sarah Totton’s short story “The Click.” And in our September/October issue, you can read a cover story on housing affordability by our 2022 Justice Fund Writer in Residence, Julia-Simone Rutgers. (Rutgers is now a climate reporter for The Narwhal.)

Donations of any amount (great or small) mean that we can keep on training future journalists in the rigorous practice of fact-checking and editing. With your support, we can continue to keep The Walrus available to readers everywhere as well as help build the next generation of reporters, copy-editors, fact-checkers, and editors.

With gratitude,

Jennifer Hollett
Executive Director, The Walrus