Frequently Asked Questions

Opioid Harm Reduction

The main difference between the two courses is what you will learn.

In the Becoming an Opioid Harm Reduction Champion Course, you will learn about the opioid crisis in Canada, how to reduce the stigma about opioid use, and discover ways to help.

In the First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies Course, you will learn first aid skills and knowledge to prevent, recognize and respond to an opioid poisoning emergency and how to administer intranasal naloxone.

Naloxone is a fast-acting drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid poisoning.

When you take an opioid, it affects certain receptors in your brain. Naloxone works by kicking opioids off the receptors in your brain and binding to those receptors instead. This reverses or blocks the effects of opioids on your body. Naloxone can restore breathing within 2 to 5 minutes to someone experiencing an opioid poisoning emergency.

Naloxone training gives you the skills and knowledge to recognize the signs of opioid poisoning, what steps to take in this emergency and how to use and administer naloxone. The Canadian Red Cross offers two online courses as part of our Opioid Harm Reduction education: Becoming an Opioid Harm Reduction Champion and First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies. These courses are free, available for anyone who wants to learn more (age requirement may apply), and there are no prerequisites.

The Canadian Red Cross provides free learner-centred, evidence-based naloxone training in our First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies online course.

Building confidence, skills, and attitudes to reduce harm and improve health outcomes for all Canadians is the primary purpose. In this course, you will learn how to respond to an opioid poisoning emergency and administer nasal naloxone.

Yes, it is recommended that you receive training to administer naloxone. The First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies Course will give you the tools and knowledge to recognize the signs of an opioid poisoning emergency and how to help.

Naloxone is a very safe drug. If naloxone is administered to an individual when opioids are not present, there is no harmful effect on the individual.

All provinces and territories have laws to protect bystanders who give emergency help. Protection from liability available under the Good Samaritan Act, 2001, would generally apply to any bystander who voluntarily administers naloxone in an emergency in response to an opioid poisoning. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act is a federal law that offers some specific legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help. The law applies to the person who has been poisoned, the person who seeks help, and anyone at the scene when help arrives. It’s important to remember that naloxone will not cause any harm to an individual, even if there are no opioids present. The most harmful thing you can do is to do nothing at all. If you suspect that someone is experiencing an opioid poisoning emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using, storing, and maintaining naloxone kits. Typically, this means that naloxone should be:

  • stored at room temperature (between 15 and 25°C),
  • kept in the kit until ready for use, and
  • protected from light.

Naloxone has an expiry date. The expiry date is written on the ampoules or vials (for injectable naloxone) or the nasal spray device. If the naloxone has expired, it should be replaced. However, naloxone is still safe to use even if it is expired. You can bring expired or unused naloxone kits to any pharmacy for safe disposal. Contact your provincial/territorial Ministry of Health for more information on other safe disposal drop-off locations.

Being involved in an emergency or personally impacted by the opioid crisis can affect our well-being. We all experience different types of stress, so it’s important to support your mental, physical and emotional health using different strategies. In the First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies Course, there is a learning module on self-care where you will take the time to learn about types of stress and how you can better take care of yourself.

The training is self-paced and designed for all learners. You can learn at your own pace, stop and resume training anytime. At the end of each module, there are brief knowledge checks so you can check in on your learning.

The word “overdose” technically means to give too much medicine. This suggests that a person knows what the medication does and chooses to take too much of it. However, many accidental poisonings occur because the person does not know the substance they are using contains opioids or that it contains a toxic amount of opioids.

The Becoming an Opioid Harm Reduction Champion Course takes about 30 minutes to complete, and the First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies Course takes 45-60 minutes.

Remember that all Canadian Red Cross online courses can be taken anytime and at your own pace. Take as much time as you need to complete a course.

Upon completing the Becoming an Opioid Harm Reduction Champion Course or the First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies Course, you will receive a participation certificate with no expiry date. Participants can go back to the course to review the learning later if they wish.

The Becoming an Opioid Harm Reduction Champion and First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies courses are offered as self-directed, online training, so there are no instructors. You can learn at any time and at your own pace.

At the end of each module, there will be a short knowledge check. There is no exam; you are not being evaluated. The knowledge check for each module allows you to check your understanding of what has been covered so far. Remember, you can always go back and review the course content whenever you need to, and your progress will not be affected.

Take-home naloxone kits are available across Canada. Depending on your region, the kits are distributed by pharmacies, social services organizations, or public health units.

You can consult your province to see where these kits are available near you:

Training provides the skills and knowledge necessary to recognize the signs of opioid poisoning and administer naloxone to a person during a life-threatening emergency. The Opioid Harm Reduction courses will give you the necessary tools and knowledge, and you will learn how to be part of a movement to change how we view opioid poisoning in our communities.

Opioid Harm Reduction refers to policies, programs, and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social, and economic consequences of opioid use. Harm reduction is a public health approach that minimizes harm and recognizes that every life is valuable, including the lives of people who use substances. Harm reduction measures, such as making naloxone kits and training widely accessible, help keep people who use substances safe, reduce the harmful effects of opioid poisonings and save lives.

Preventing Disease Transmission Course and Registration

This course focuses primarily on understanding how infection occurs and how participants can use personal protective equipment (PPE) and good Prevention of Disease Transmission (PDT) practices to reduce their risk of infection. The goal of this course is to provide key information in a way that is accessible and useful for them.

No. This course has no prerequisites and is suitable for all audiences.

Participants can enrol in the PDT course by scrolling to the bottom of the course page and clicking on one of the course delivery methods, including self-directed and virtual.

  1. Self-directed learning: Participants learn at their own pace by working through the training materials independently online.
  2. Virtual learning: Participants join an online classroom led in real-time by an instructor, who can provide feedback and answer questions.

The virtual learning is designed to be delivered in 40 minutes. Instructors may choose to take longer than the suggested instructional time to better support their learners. The self-directed learning is also approximately 40 minutes, but varies depending on the individual participant.

You can redeem the coupon code during the course registration process. When you reach the checkout page, you will find an option to redeem your coupon code right under the course summary section.

Yes. Passing the knowledge evaluation is a requirement to complete the course.

Yes. All participants will receive a certificate of completion of the Prevention of Disease Transmission course regardless of which delivery option they chose.

You can browse the dates and times available and select the one that best suits your schedule.

You will be able to cancel or reschedule the virtual classroom session you book up to 24 hours before the training begins. You can do that by yourself by clicking the "Cancel/Reschedule" link in the booking confirmation email you received at the time of enrolment.

If the training time you registered for has passed and you still need to attend the training, contact Support (at [email protected] or 1-866-221-2232).

We are happy to provide service in both English and French.

Our Contact Centre hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.

Online Learning

It depends on the training and the type of the content. If the content is downloadable, you will be able to find an option to download the content at the bottom of the content page.

You can adjust the settings of the videos in your course by clicking on the gear icon in the top of the course material page. You can adjust any of the following:

  • Autoplay: When toggled, the first video will automatically begin playing when you enter the section.
  • Autocomplete: When toggled, each section will automatically be marked as complete when you finish the last video.
  • Player: This allows you to select the type of video player (HTML 5 or Flash) that you want to use while viewing videos.
  • Speed: This allows you to select the speed at which you want the videos to play.

Yes, the course material is copyrighted by Canadian Red Cross.

Virtual Classroom Learning

The virtual classroom is hosted through the Zoom conferencing tool (

No, you don’t need a Zoom account in order to join the classroom. You can join the classroom using your browser or using the Zoom mobile app or desktop applications for Android, Windows or Mac.

We highly recommend testing Zoom software on your device before joining the virtual classroom to ensure that both the video and audio features on your devices are working. That way, you will make sure that your learning experience is a seamless one. To test Zoom on your device, please use the following link to join a test call:

We highly recommend testing Zoom software on your device before joining the virtual classroom. That way, you will make sure that your learning experience is a seamless one. To test Zoom on your device, please use the following link to join a test call:

You can join the virtual classroom by clicking the meeting link you received in the booking confirmation email with the subject line: “Booking confirmed: PDT Training” or going to and entering the meeting ID that you received in the same email. You will be asked to enter a password for the meeting which is also listed in the booking confirmation email.

We highly recommend joining the call 5-10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to make sure that you don’t have any issues with accessing the call.

The password for the virtual classroom can be found in the classroom booking email with the subject line: “Booking confirmed: PDT Training” which was sent to you at the time of classroom enrolment.

The message indicates that you have successfully connected to Zoom and the classroom will start as soon as the instructor (host) starts the session. If you believe that you are receiving this message in error, or you waited for more than 15 minutes from the classroom’s scheduled start time, please reach out to our support team through 1-866-221-2232.

Echo can be caused by many things, such as a participant connected to the meeting audio on multiple devices or two participants joining from the same locale. Please read the following article about common causes of audio echo.