An evaluation of the Ontario Naloxone Program for Pharmacies

Geographic variation in the provision of naloxone by pharmacies in Ontario

Opioid-related overdoses and deaths have become a public health crisis across North America, with approximately 72,600 opioid-related deaths occurring in Canada and the United States in 2018 alone. Importantly, the majority of opioid-related deaths are unintentional and preventable with the timely administration of naloxone, an opioid antagonist that quickly and effectively reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

In June 2016, the Ontario Government introduced the Ontario Naloxone Program for Pharmacies (ONPP), authorizing community pharmacists across the province to provide naloxone kits to all Ontario residents free of charge. The ONPP was modified in March 2018 to: 1) allow pharmacies to distribute intranasal naloxone, and 2) remove the requirement for individuals to present a valid government health card to receive a naloxone kit.

This study investigates regional variation in the distribution of naloxone through the ONPP and identifies individual- and public health unit-level determinants of variation.

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