Overdose Prevention Services

Overdose prevention services island health

The drug supply is highly toxic. All drugs can be fatal when too much is taken or combined with other substances. People who use drugs are at increased risk of injury and/or death with any method of drug use, including smoking, inhaling or injecting. This page provides information on how to stay safer when using drugs.

Ways to prevent and treat an overdose

Use with a buddy
Stagger use so someone can respond or call for help if needed.

Alternatively, use at an overdose prevention site where people can use drugs under the supervision of trained staff.

If using alone
Download an app that will connect you to help if an overdose happens. There is no police involvement when using these services. Download in the App store or Google Play.

  • Connect by Lifeguard - anonymous, life-saving technology that provides a direct link to emergency services when an accidental overdose occurs. Additional features of the app include Naloxone and CPR guidance, drug alerts and direct access to local mental health and addiction support services. 
  • Brave App – connects you with community members when you are vulnerable to an overdose. Users set up an overdose plan that puts them in control, detailing how, when, and who is sent for help. 

Call the National Overdose Response Service 1-888-688-NORS (6677) - a free hotline that provides loving, confidential, non-judgmental support for you, whenever and wherever you use drugs

Start low, go slow
Use one drug at a time, including alcohol and prescription drugs. Use smaller amounts, especially when the drug is new or you haven't used recently.

Carry and use Naloxone
Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl. It does not respond to non-opioid drugs such as benzodiazepines, cocaine or alcohol. Take Home Naloxone is available for free in BC. Find a location near you.

Know the signs of an overdose and how to respond
Learn how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Provide rescue breathing
  • Inject naloxone 

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects you if you witness an overdose and you or someone else calls 911. No one is to be charged with personal possession of an illegal substance nor charged for breach of probation or parole relating to simple drug possession. 

Talk to other men: HeChangedItApp
This app connects men with a supportive community, resources and information to help men deal with stress, tension, anxiety and depression. Core pillars address mental, physical, emotional, social and soul fitness.

Check your drugs (confidentially and for free)

In-person: Victoria
In-person: Campbell River
  • 1330 Dogwood St., 250-895-1825
  • Tuesday, Friday and income assistance pay dates (third or fourth Wednesday of every month,) 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Samples can also be dropped off any day during Campbell River OPS opening hours (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) Clients are given a code that they can use to check results online. They can also sign up to receive results by text, or they can request to have a copy of results printed.
In-person: Nanaimo
  • 437 Wesley St., Nanaimo, 250-591-3999
  • Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (about 10 minute response time)
  • A drug sample can also be dropped off between 6 a.m. – midnight., seven days a week. Results are sent by email or text.
Mail-in: Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project

•    Visit https://substance.uvic.ca/results 
•    Click “Send a sample” in the upper right corner of the page
•    Follow instructions to anonymously submit drug samples and retrieve results

Mail-in: Get Your Drugs Tested 

•    Visit https://getyourdrugstested.com/canada-wide-drug-checking-by-mail/ 
•    Follow instructions to submit sample and retrieve results

Take away: BTNX Fentanyl Test Strips

BTNX Fentanyl Test Strips can be picked up at all Overdose Prevention Services on Vancouver Island on Vancouver Island for people to use on-site or to take away and use at home or elsewhere.

Places to go for safer drug use 

Find an Overdose Prevention and Supervised Consumption Location* in your community. These locations provide non-judgemental services and compassionate support for people to use drugs more safely.

Treatment and pharmaceutical alternatives

Opioid agonist therapy helps treat addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl and Percocet. Find out if this is right for you at Opioid Agonist Therapy.

There are medications available for you or your loved one that help prevent withdrawal and limit exposure to the toxic drug supply. Find out more about Safer Prescribing Options.

Find support for substance use

Phone lines for support:

  • Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: Toll free 1-800-663-1441. Confidential multilingual information and referral to community resources offered 24/7
  • Kuu-us Aboriginal Crisis Line: call toll free: 1-888-588-8717
  • Vancouver Island Crisis Line: call toll free: 1-888-494-3888 or text: 250-800-3806 

Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service
Find more mental health and substance use health services 

Overdose Prevention Services are allowed under special Ministerial Order (Ministerial Order M488) under the Emergency Services Act. Supervised Consumption Services are approved by Health Canada for exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

General Information on Overdose Prevention Services

Referral Required?
Not required


Learn About

News & Events

Nanaimo’s Car 54 partnership drives care and connections for people in crisis

Nanaimo’s Car 54 partnership drives care and connections for people in crisis

Enhanced services are available for people in Nanaimo experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises, thanks to Car 54 – a full-time mental health mobile program that launched in October 2022.

Read more

Sign up for toxic drug alerts

Stay informed, stay safer: Island Health launches text alert system for drug-poisoning advisories

People can now be alerted via text message about drug-poisoning advisories in the Island Health region thanks to an innovative partnership. 

Read more

Addiction Medicine Consult Services improve health outcomes for patients in hospitals

Addiction Medicine Consult Services improve health outcomes for patients in hospitals

Substance use disorders can impact each and every one of us. Perhaps you've experienced this first-hand, or have someone in your life who is impacted by substance use.

Read more