**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
Investments to Support Overdose Prevention Sites
Government is taking further action to address opioid use and overdose by investing in additional support for people who use substances.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) will use $500,000 to support overdose prevention sites in the province. This initiative is part of the effort to prevent opioid overdose deaths under Nova Scotia’s Opioid Use and Overdose Framework.
“Every overdose death is a tragedy and overcoming addiction can be very challenging,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness. “This investment will provide a place for people to use substances in a way that is safer for them and the surrounding community.”
ReFIX, currently the only overdose prevention site in Nova Scotia, based in Halifax, will receive one-time bridge funding for six months.
As well, a request for proposals to establish new sites in the Halifax and Sydney areas is expected to be issued later this year by NSHA Public Health. ReFIX will also be able to apply during the RFP process to support its operations.
Models of safer drug consumption – such as overdose prevention sites – support harm reduction by providing needles, responding to overdoses with naloxone and connecting people to important health and social services.
“Providing people with safe and caring spaces to use drugs helps to reduce overdoses and other drug-related harms. These important spaces also allow public health and community-based care providers to support people who use drugs and better address their needs.”
– James Broesch, director, Science and System Performance, Public Health, Nova Scotia Health Authority
— Nova Scotia’s Opioid Use and Overdose Framework was released in 2017 and includes a focus on harm reduction
— harm reduction initiatives supported under the framework to date include the distribution of more than 16,500 Naloxone kits and annual funding of $1.38 million to support community-based harm reduction like needle distribution and disposal and peer outreach
— funding comes from Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia
— Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia was established in 1998 to receive and distribute funds (a percentage of VLT revenues) to reduce the harmful effects of gambling. In 2020, its mandate was broadened to address other co-occurring mental health and addictions issues
Province of Nova Scotia Opioid Use and Overdose Framework: https://novascotia.ca/opioid/
Nova Scotia Health Authority Mental Health and Addictions: https://mha.nshealth.ca/en
IWK Health Centre Mental Health and Addictions: http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/mental-health