Opioid use and overdose strategy

Based on preliminary data, so far in 2024, 31 Nova Scotians died from opioid overdoses.

Get a take-home naloxone kit

Naloxone is used to treat an opioid poisoning and overdose by temporarily reversing the effects allowing time for paramedics to arrive.

You can get a naloxone kit for free from participating organizations across the province. Free kits are available to all Nova Scotians at risk of an opioid poisoning and those who are most likely to witness and respond to an opioid poisoning. You don’t need a prescription or a health card.

Find a participating organization and get a naloxone kit.

Since 2017, the Take-Home Naloxone Program has distributed 32,365 kits; in 2022 there were 557 kits reported used in Nova Scotian communities. The number of kits used in communities doesn't include any first responders or naloxone used from other programs (like nasal spray). Kit use reporting is voluntary.

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 31 confirmed or probable opioid toxicity deaths reported to date in 2024 (as of 1 July 2024).

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
2023 73
2022 62
2021 40
2020 49
2019 56
2018 55
2017 64
2016 54
2015 58
2014 66
2013 54
2012 67
2011 56

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