The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is advising people who use drugs to get trained in overdose response and pick up a Take Home Naloxone kit, regardless of how they choose to consume, after new research revealed that people who smoke or snort drugs are half as likely to carry lifesaving naloxone medication. The warning stems from results of a 2018 survey of people who use drugs in BC and research published recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The survey, conducted by the harm reduction team at the BCCDC, found that people who reported smoking or snorting drugs as their preferred method of drug use were half as likely to carry naloxone as those who preferred injecting. This was true even after taking several factors into account, including gender, age, and type of drug used.
The unpredictability of the street drug supply puts people at risk. Data in BC show that people who smoke or snort opioids are experiencing overdoses and dying. While uncommon, there have also been reports of fentanyl-related deaths among people using stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
The BCCDC is also advising anyone who is around people who use drugs and who may witness an overdose to get trained and get a kit so they can respond. Take Home Naloxone kits are available free of charge at hundreds of locations across the province and can be found using the site finder on https://towardtheheart.com.
Learn more about the 2018 Harm Reduction Client Survey findings at www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/data-reports/harm-reduction-and-substance-use.
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