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Why Take Naloxone Training?

The opioid crisis and opioid-related deaths are devastating families, communities, and worksites across Canada. During the Covid pandemic in 2019, opioid related deaths increased by 73%. Unfortunately, the opioid crisis is only getting worse, with 2819 opioid-related deaths in 2021.

Opioid overdoses can affect a family member, friend, or coworker.

Naloxone training can reverse the effect of an overdose and save lives.

Who is taking Opioids and Why?

Let's take away the stigma of opioid overdoses. Remember opioids are prescribed medication by a doctor and are addictive in nature. Opioids trigger the release of endorphins, your brain's neurotransmitters making you feel good. Endorphins mask your perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure, creating a temporary but powerful sense of well-being.

Opioids such as Fentanyl can be cut into any type of illegal drug, whether it’s an injectable liquid, a pill (e.g., fake “oxy”), or a powder– including heroin, cocaine, or ecstasy. Fentanyl is cheap to produce and is cut into more expensive street drugs to increase drug potency and the profits of dealers.

Because opioids are addictive in nature once a person has finished their opioid prescription they may turn to the street to purchase opioids.

Not everyone who overdoses lives on the street and is a heavy user, unlike the common stereotype. Pain medications are prescribed to a diverse amount of population. Addiction and drug use do not discriminate and affect everyone. Who is affected by the opioid crisis?

Your neighbours, family, friends, and co-workers (more examples are below):

  • An elderly person whose hip surgery is delayed and is in an immense amount of pain and is prescribed pain medication

  • A child finding their parent's pain medication

  • A teenager buying ecstasy for the first time at a party with friends

  • An athlete recovering from knee surgery on pain medication

  • A coworker who is suffering trauma because they witness a death at work

Remember that people using pain medication could be family or friends. 40% of opioid overdose casualties were not alone. Being trained by Holmes Medical Training on when and how to use Naloxone, you could save the life of a friend or loved one.

Signs and symptoms of an Opioid Overdose:

  • Pinpoint (very small) pupils

  • Slow, irregular, or no breathing

  • Slow or no heartbeat

  • Pale, cool, clammy skin

  • Bluish lips and fingernails cyanotic

  • Extreme drowsiness

  • Unconsciousness, or unable to arouse

  • Possible seizure

  • Hypotension (unusually low blood pressure)

  • Hypoxia (a lack of oxygen that can lead to brain damage, cardiac arrest, and death)

How does Naloxone Work?

Naloxone (Narcan)

Naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the brain. It temporarily reverses these effects on a person's breathing and overdose. When you take an opioid, it affects certain receptors in your brain. Naloxone works by kicking opioids off the receptors in your brain and binding to those receptors instead. This reverses or blocks the effects of opioids on your body.

Giving naloxone can prevent death or brain damage from lack of oxygen. Naloxone wears off and the casualty will go back into an overdose within 20 to 90 minutes

ALWAYS CALL 911 after administering naloxone.

Types of Naloxone kits available:

Nasal Spray

Prefilled devices that spray the medication into the nose.

Intramuscular Injection

Medication (solution) is given by injection into a muscle or under the skin.

How to store your Naloxone kit

A new OHSA regulation: Naloxone Kits (O. Reg. 559/22), prescribes the contents of a naloxone kit and sets out additional requirements related to the provision and maintenance of naloxone kits, including

• Every naloxone kit shall be used, stored, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Naloxone should be kept and stored away from direct sunlight and at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit

Workplace Naloxone Program, 2023-2024 | Guidelines

• The contents of each naloxone kit must be kept in a hard case, be for single use, and promptly replaced after such use and must not have expired.

• The names and workplace locations of the workers who are in charge of the naloxone kit in the workplace and who have received the required training must be posted in a conspicuous place in the vicinity of the kit where their names and workplace locations are most likely to come to the attention of other workers.

What are common types of Opioids?

Naloxone temporarily reverses a person's overdose from opioids, including

  • Heroin

  • Morphine

  • Fentanyl

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®)

  • Methadone

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)

  • Codeine

  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)

  • Buprenorphine

  • If you are unsure of the product taken but the individual is showing signs and symptoms of an overdose the safety protocol is to give Naloxone

  • Once given, naloxone will start to work in approximately 2-3 minutes. If the first dose is not working, continue giving more doses every 2-3 minutes

  • More information on how to give Naloxone is described in our Holmes Medical Training courses

Hazards of Giving Naloxone

  • Ensure your skin does not touch the casualty’s face or hands. If it is fentanyl, you may overdose as well through absorption. Always wear gloves. Use a pocket mask or face shield when giving respirations during CPR.

  • When Naloxone is given to extremely heavy Opioid users, they may become violent afterward because you are taking away their high and causing withdrawal systems.

  • Remember, needles are a hazard. Check around the casualty for needles to ensure you don't come in contact. Heavy users have a higher potential for hepatitis and HIV from needle sharing.

How does the Good Samaritan Law protect me?

"If you witness an opioid overdose, don't turn away…

Stay and call 911 or your local emergency number.

Follow their instructions and administer naloxone if you have it.

Even if you've taken drugs or have some on you, the Good Samaritan law can protect you.

It’s important to stay until help arrives.

The Government of Canada is taking action.

Together we can help save lives.

A message from the Government of Canada:

How You Can Help?

By choosing a first aid program that teaches you how to use Naloxone, you can reverse the effects of opioids and save the life of a family, friend, or coworker.

If you are interested in making a difference and saving a life, sign up for a first aid course in Ottawa, with Holmes Medical Training today.

All Holmes Medical Training courses include Naloxone training.


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