Ontario’s Ministry of Health has announced that a drug used as an antidote for opioid overdosesis now available to the public, over the counter, without a prescription, and for free.

Naloxone is an opioid blocker administered with a syringe into a muscle, much like an epi pen. It’s designed to be taken immediately during a drug overdose.

Drug advocates say it is a generic medication with no risk of abuse. Many say access to Naloxone is even more important now that Fentanyl has turned up in Ontario.

In a statement Health Minister Eric Hoskins says, “Today I am announcing that we will be immediately implementing the necessary changes making Naloxone available free of charge over-the-counter and without prescription at Ontario’s pharmacies.”

Manager of Information and Planning, Harm Reduction for the Region of Waterloo, Chris Harold says health units and community partners have advocated for this for some time.

"We know that Fentanyl exists both in the Ontario and local drug supply, and that's concerning so anything we can do to get more naloxone out there to prevent or to be there in the event that a person does overdose is beneficial."

Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and is odorless and tasteless.