Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp e200–e204 | Cite as

Development and Implementation of an Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response Program in Toronto, Ontario

  • Pamela N. Leece
  • Shaun HopkinsEmail author
  • Chantel Marshall
  • Aaron Orkin
  • Margaret A. Gassanov
  • Rita M. Shahin
Public Health Intervention



We describe the development of the first community-based opioid overdose prevention and response program with naloxone distribution offered by a public health unit in Canada (Prevent Overdose in Toronto, POINT).


The target population is people who use opioids by any route, throughout the City of Toronto.


The POINT program is operated by the needle exchange program at Toronto Public Health (The Works) and offered at over 40 partner agency sites throughout Toronto.


POINT is a comprehensive program of overdose prevention and response training, including naloxone dispensing. Clients are instructed by public health staff on overdose risk factors, recognizing signs and symptoms of overdose, calling 911, naloxone administration, stimulation and chest compressions, and post-overdose care. Training is offered to clients one-on-one or in small groups. Clients receive a naloxone kit including two 1 mL ampoules of naloxone hydrochloride (0.4 mg/mL) and are advised to return to The Works for a refill and debriefing if the naloxone kit is used.


In the first 8 months of the program, 209 clients were trained. Clients have reported 17 administrations of naloxone, and all overdose victims have reportedly survived. Client demand for POINT training has been high, and Toronto Public Health has expanded its capacity to provide training. Overall, reception to the program has been overwhelmingly positive.


We are encouraged by the initial development and implementation experience with the naloxone program and its potential to save lives in Toronto. We have planned short-, intermediate-, and long-term process and outcome evaluations.

Key Words

Naloxone narcotic antagonists opioid-related disorders overdose prevention & control resuscitation 



Nous décrivons l’élaboration du premier programme communautaire de prévention et de lutte contre les surdoses d’opioïdes par la distribution de naloxone offert dans un bureau de santé publique au Canada (Prevent Overdose in Toronto, POINT).


La population cible est constituée des personnes consommant des opioïdes, par n’importe quelle voie, dans la ville de Toronto.


Prevent Overdose in Toronto est exécuté par le programme d’échange de seringues du Service de santé publique de Toronto (The Works) et offert sur plus de 40 sites d’organismes partenaires à Toronto.


POINT est un programme complet de formation à la prévention et à la lutte contre les surdoses incluant la distribution de naloxone. Le personnel de santé publique explique aux clients les facteurs de risque de surdose, les signes et les symptômes de surdose, quand composer le 911, le mode d’administration de la naloxone, la stimulation cardiaque et les compressions thoraciques, ainsi que les soins après une surdose. La formation est offerte aux clients individuellement ou en petits groupes. Les clients reçoivent une trousse de naloxone avec deux ampoules de chlorhydrate de naloxone de 1 mL (0,4 mg/mL); s’ils ont utilisé la naloxone, on leur demande de retourner à The Works pour renouveler leur trousse et faire un bilan.


Au cours des huit premiers mois du programme, 209 clients ont été formés. Les clients ont fait état de 17 administrations de naloxone; toutes les victimes de surdoses auraient survécu. La demande des clients pour la formation POINT étant élevée, le Service de santé publique de Toronto a renforcé ses capacités d’offrir cette formation. Globalement, l’accueil réservé au programme est extrêmement positif.


Nous sommes encouragés par l’expérience d’élaboration et de mise en oeuvre initiale du programme de naloxone et par les vies qu’il pourrait sauver à Toronto. Nous planifions des évaluations à court, moyen et long terme du processus et des résultats.

Mots Clés

naloxone antagonistes narcotiques troubles liés aux opiacés overdose prévention et contrôle réanimation 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela N. Leece
    • 1
  • Shaun Hopkins
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chantel Marshall
    • 2
  • Aaron Orkin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Margaret A. Gassanov
    • 2
  • Rita M. Shahin
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency ProgramUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Toronto Public Health - The WorksTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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