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.