Nova Scotia’s Opioid Use and Overdose Framework

Opioid use and overdose deaths have been increasing across the country.
In response to this public health issue, government has created this framework to help tackle the immediate impacts and long term effects of opioid use and overdose in Nova Scotia.

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The Opioid Use and Overdose Framework (PDF 1.5 MB) outlines five key areas of focus to effectively respond to opioid use and overdose in Nova Scotia. To fully understand the situation, and to put the plan into action, government will collaborate and engage with a range of stakeholders and communities.

  1. Understanding the Issue

    Expanding our knowledge base through increased monitoring and surveillance, and by engaging partners and stakeholders, including people with lived experience

  2. Prevention

    Ensuring all Nova Scotians, especially youth, are well-informed on the risks associated with opioid use, and bringing trauma-informed approaches to healthcare and other settings

  3. Harm Reduction

    Increasing access to naloxone and ensuring stable funding for needle distribution and disposal services while exploring other harm reduction models, including safe consumption sites

  4. Treatment and Prescribing Practices

    Ensuring timely access to a continuum of services and supports for individuals and families experiencing harms related to opioid use, increasing access to alternative pain management approaches, and supporting primary care providers in implementing new prescribing practices for the use of opioids to treat acute and chronic pain

  5. Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

    Increasing access to wellness courts and court-monitored drug treatment programs, sharing information with partners on seized drugs, reducing the availability of illegal opioids on the street, and ensuring the continued health and safety of first responders

Opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia

There have been 39 confirmed and 11 probable opioid toxicity deaths in 2017 (as of the end of October 2017.)

Confirmed and probable acute opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia
2016 53
2015 60
2014 66
2013 54
2012 67
2011 56

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