Chilliwack, B.C. –
British Columbia’s naloxone supply is depleted, forcing some police agencies to buy their own supplies of the overdose-reversing drug.
Premier John Horgan says his government is working to allocate funding to buy more naloxone kits, which have successfully been used to reverse opioid overdoses in thousands of people in the province.
The Victoria Police Department has been paying for its own naloxone kits this past year after funding ended in April 2020, while the Saanich Police Department said in a statement that its naloxone kits will expire at the end of the year.
Bowen Osoko, a spokesman for Victoria police, says the force allocated $15,000 from its human resources budget to buy the kits, which retail between $130 and $140 each.
He says police departments across the province were notified of the funding cut, but the severity and frequency of overdoses meant the Victoria Police Department never considered not buying more kits.
The province declared a public health emergency in 2016 as overdoses climbed due to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, and since then 7,760 people have died from suspected ODs.