EDMONTON — A group of University of Alberta students is calling for action to reduce the growing number of people who are dying from fentanyl overdoses.
Student Advocates for Public Health is encouraging support for Health Canada’s proposal to allow people to obtain the drug naloxone — which can reverse the effects of an overdose — without a prescription.
Naloxone kits that include a syringe and vials of the drug are already being distributed in some provinces.
The group wants the pharmaceutical industry and Ottawa to allow the drug to be sold in easier to use forms such as a nasal spray and an auto injector device similar to an EpiPen.
The students say they also support a federal Liberal private members bill that calls for passing a Good Samaritan law to protect people who call 911 to report overdoses from facing charges.
Fentanyl, an opiod that is many times more powerful than heroin, has been a factor in 272 deaths in Alberta and more than 655 deaths across the country.
Related reading: Maclean’s #longreads on the fentanyl crisis in Canada