Opioid use and overdose strategy

Based on preliminary data, so far in 2023, 14 Nova Scotians died from opioid overdoses. Government is working to reduce the effects of opioid use and overdose in Nova Scotia.

Get a take-home naloxone kit

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. You can get a naloxone kit for free from pharmacies across the province.

You don’t need a prescription or a health card. Go to a participating pharmacy and ask the pharmacist about getting a kit.

Since January 2016, more than 26,494 naloxone kits have been dispensed to Nova Scotians. There have been 207 reported to date.

Find a participating community pharmacy near you.

Get addictions treatment

The Nova Scotia Health Authority operates addictions treatment services throughout the province.

Find an addictions service near you.

Opioid Use and Overdose Framework

The Opioid Use and Overdose Framework outlines government’s plan to address this important public health issue. The framework includes strategies to reduce the effects of opioid use and overdoses by focusing on 5 main areas:

  • understanding the issue
  • prevention
  • harm reduction
  • treatment and prescribing practices
  • criminal justice and law enforcement

Because addiction has complex causes, the framework calls for collaboration between government and partner organizations to address the root causes of addiction, like poverty, childhood trauma and stigma.

Read the framework (PDF 1.5 MB).

What we’ve done so far

Framework progress updates explain what government has done to address opioid use and overdoses. Read the Opioid Use and Overdose Framework Progress Update: September 2022 (PDF).


Opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia

There are 14 confirmed or probable opioid toxicity deaths reported to date in 2023 (as of 30 April 2023).

Note: Monitoring relies on results of toxicology testing which can lag by 1-2 months.

Confirmed and probable acute opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia
2022 62
2021 39
2020 50
2019 56
2018 54
2017 64
2016 53
2015 58
2014 66
2013 54
2012 67
2011 56

(Note: Numbers are subject to change; case investigations are ongoing.)