Naloxone Nasal Spray now available to First Nations and Inuit through Non-Insured Health Benefits program

News release

Naloxone spray can be a life-saving tool against opioid overdoses

April 5, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Indigenous Services Canada

Canada faces a serious and growing opioid crisis. The response to this crisis needs to be comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based.

As part of that response, NARCAN™ (Naloxone) Nasal Spray was listed as an open benefit on March 27 under the Department of Indigenous Services Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program. Naloxone can be a life-saving tool as it temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The nasal spray will be eligible for coverage when prescribed or when recommended by a pharmacist. It may be requested for client’s personal use, or to protect a person who may be at-risk. Naloxone is also available in injectable form. Injectable naloxone kits were declared an open benefit under NIHB in June 2016.

The Government of Canada encourages those who use drugs, and people close to them, to get a naloxone kit. For more information on opioids and overdose, visit


“Naloxone can be a life-saving tool to help someone suffering from a suspected opioid overdose. Having nasal spray naloxone available through the Non-Insured Health Benefit program gives more options for First Nations and Inuit to take action in the event of an overdose. I encourage everyone to learn more about opioids, how to spot an overdose, and to learn how to use naloxone – you could save a life.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • Naloxone is a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid medications. Common signs of overdose include:
     difficulty walking and talking;
     very small pupils;
     cold and clammy skin;
     slow and weak breathing;
     choking; and
     extreme drowsiness or inability to wake up.

  • If you think someone is overdosing, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number right away, and follow their instructions. Naloxone will not reverse overdoses that are not caused by opioids. That is why it is still important to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

  • If you are concerned about your drug use, or the drug use of someone else, support is just a phone call away. The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing 1-855-242-3310.

Associated links


Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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