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

Like What You’re Reading?

Fact-based journalism is our passion and your right.

We’re asking readers like you to support The Walrus so we can continue to lead the Canadian conversation.

With COVID-19, now more than ever The Walrus’ journalism, fact checking, and online events play a critical role in informing and connecting people. From public health to education to the economy, this pandemic presents an opportunity to change things for the better.

We feature Canadian voices and expertise on stories that travel beyond our shores, and we firmly believe that this reporting can change the world around us. The Walrus covers it all with originality, depth, and thoughtfulness, bringing diverse perspectives to bear on essential conversations while setting the highest bar for fact-checking and rigour.

None of this would be possible without you.

As a nonprofit, we work hard to keep our costs low and our team lean, but this is a model that requires individual support to pay our contributors fairly and maintain the strength of our independent coverage.
Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt.
Every contribution makes a difference.
Support The Walrus today. Thank you.