A pharmacist who went door-to-door handing out naloxone kits and trained non-pharmacist staff to do the same has admitted to professional misconduct
At a disciplinary hearing in Toronto, Canadian pharmacist Jason Newman said he felt he had no choice given the urgent need for the potentially life-saving drug, according to a report by The Canadian Press.
The pharmacy owner from the Ontario region said he decided to go door-to-door with naloxone kits after he visited a homeless shelter but staff refused to allow him to offer training in naloxone use.
They reportedly turned him down again a week later, he said, even after someone died of an overdose.
“I decided it was necessary to train people around the area as quickly as possible,” Mr Newman told the panel.
The pharmacist said he went door-to-door to up to 40 businesses to hand out naloxone kits, but delegated some of the distribution task because he couldn’t do it all himself.
He said he allowed non-pharmacist employees to provide kit recipients with background information and training, but only after extensive practice, reports The Canadian Press.
However in Canada, pharmacists are required to provide education on its use, how to identify overdoses, the importance of calling emergency services, and resuscitation among other things.
He admitted to failing to adhere to professional standards by improperly supervising people who helped him give out naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdose.
The pharmacist also agreed he had failed to live up to an undertaking he gave the Ontario College of Pharmacists in February last year to abide by the standards.
The disciplinary panel meted out a month-long suspension and a reprimand.
Mr Newman is additionally required to pass an ethics course.
As part of his admissions, the pharmacist agreed to a new undertaking to abide by the rules, saying he now has 10 other pharmacists he can count on for distribution and training.
“I am guilty of misconduct,” Mr Newman reportedly told the panel. “Despite that, I have certainly saved lives with what I did.”
Nearly 1,500 people died of opioid-related causes in Ontario last year, up from 1,265 deaths reported in 2017.
There is an “opioid crisis” across Canada, according to the Government of Canada.