On January 26, 2017, the BC Minister of Health amended the Health Professions General Regulation and Pharmacy Operations and Drug Schedule Act– Drug Schedules Regulation to allow anyone to administer naloxone to someone appearing to be suffering from an opioid overdose regardless of whether or not they are in a hospital setting in accordance with federal laws. On February 2, 2017 Health Canada changed the Federal Prescription Drug list to reflect this change.
CRPNBC Limits and Conditions (Effective February 13, 2017):
Unscheduled naloxone: RPNs may administer and dispense unscheduled naloxone (without an order) for the purpose of treating an opiate overdose.
CRPNBC Limits and Condition: None
Further direction related to medication can be found in two CRPNBC practice standards: Medication Administration and Dispensing Medications and the CRPNBC Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions (PDF).
Background to Legislation Changes related to Naloxone
On March 22, 2016, Health Canada changed the Federal Prescription Drug list to allow for non-prescription naloxone. As a result, the College of Pharmacists of BC quickly announced updates to the scheduling of naloxone provincially.
In April 2016, opioid overdose was declared a public health emergency in British Columbia. On September 20, 2016, the Ministry of Health approved amendments to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act – Drug Schedules Regulation to unscheduled naloxone when used for opioid overdose emergencies outside hospital settings. Unscheduled naloxone may be sold by a non-pharmacist to any person. Naloxone remains a Schedule I drug except when used for opioid overdose emergencies outside hospital settings.
On October 14, 2016, the Ministry of Health approved amendments to the Health Professions General Regulation to allow a person, who is not otherwise authorized to administer naloxone to another person, to assess and administer naloxone (by intramuscular injection or intranasally) to someone who appears to be suffering from an opioid overdose outside of hospital settings.
Registrants who have questions about the RPN scope of practice should contact the CRPNBC office or Gail Ancill at [email protected].