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Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo.

The Canadian Press

A fentanyl antidote to save people from overdosing on the powerful drug is being made available in a take-home kit in Regina.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region says injectable naloxone kits will be available through its harm reduction methadone program beginning Monday.

The region says free training on how to use the kit will be offered to people who are at risk for an opioid overdose.

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Naloxone is used by paramedics, as well as emergency departments, and can restore breathing to an individual experiencing an overdose within several minutes.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan says making the kit more accessible to those who need it has the potential to save lives and prevent injury due to overdose.

The Ministry of Health is putting up $50,000 this year to fund take-home naloxone programs in both Regina and Saskatoon, with funding also earmarked for expansion into other health regions.

Fentanyl has been blamed for more than 650 deaths across Canada in the last six years.

Police and health officials say the drug poses a serious threat to public safety across North America. The opioid is used as a painkiller for terminally ill cancer patients and is 100 times more powerful than heroin.

Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta have all announced programs to distribute the antidote naloxone in take-home kits.

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