Nova Scotia’s government is spending $500,000 to take additional steps in addressing opioid use and overdoses in the province.
In a news release on Friday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority says it will put $500,000 towards supporting overdose prevention sites – an initiative created in an effort to prevent overdose deaths under the province’s Opioid Use and Overdose Framework.
The $500,000 in funding is coming from Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia, whose mandate was broadened in 2020 to address other co-occurring mental health and addictions issues.
"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."
Halifax-based ReFIX is currently the only overdose prevention site in Nova Scotia. It will receive a one-time bridge funding for six months.
"Providing people with safe and caring spaces to use drugs helps to reduce overdoses and other drug-related harms," said James Broesch, with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. "These important spaces also allow public health and community-based care providers to support people who use drugs and better address their needs."
The NSHA also plans to submit a request for proposal to establish new sites in the Halifax and Sydney areas later this year. ReFIX will also be able to apply during the 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," wrote public health, in a news release on Friday.