Opioid use and overdose strategy

Opioid use and overdoses have been increasing in Nova Scotia and across Canada. In 2020, so far, 45 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 16,500 naloxone kits have been dispensed to Nova Scotians. There have been 151 reported reversals 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 2019 update (PDF 500 KB).


Opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia

There were 57 confirmed or probable opioid toxicity deaths in 2019 (as of December 14, 2020).

Confirmed and probable acute opioid toxicity deaths in Nova Scotia
2019 57
2018 54
2017 63
2016 53
2015 58
2014 66
2013 54
2012 67
2011 56

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