Overdose Prevention Services

Overdose prevention services island health

Honoring People with Lived and Living Experience 

We recognize and honour the wisdom and dedication of People with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) who have cared for their communities for decades. PWLLE plays a key role in achieving inclusive, stigma-free and trauma-informed care environments.

Ways to prevent and treat an overdose

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.

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.

Toxic Drug Alerts:
Sign up to receive Island Health's drug-poisoning overdose advisories by text message. These advisories share information about increases in toxic drug poisonings in Island Health communities and provide tips for safer drug use. Text JOIN to 253787 to subscribe.

Those who subscribe can text OD to 253787 to anonymously submit information about unregulated drug poisoning.

Check your drugs (confidentially and for free)

Campbell River
  • 1330 Dogwood St., Unit #5, 250-895-1825
  • Open daily: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sample drop off daily with testing when technician available
  • Results can be accessed online, by text, or a printed copy
  • Services offered by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society (local OPS)
Comox Valley
  • 355 6th St., Courtenay, 250-338-7400
  • Open Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Sample drop off with testing when technician available
  • Results can be accessed online, by text, or a printed copy
  • Services offered by AVI Health and Community Services
Cowichan Valley/Duncan
Port Alberni 
  • 3699 3rd Ave, 778-419-0016
  • Open daily: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sample drop off daily with testing available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Results can be accessed online, by text or a printed copy
  • Services offered by the Port Alberni Shelter Society (local OPS)
  • 1802 Cook St., Victoria, 250-415-7637
  • Open Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (closed Sundays)
  • Results are given on the spot and can also be accessed online
  • Services offered by Substance
Mail-in: Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project
  • Visit Substance
  • 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 
Take away: Fentanyl Test Strips

Fentanyl Test Strips can be picked up at all Overdose Prevention & Supervised Consumption Locations on Vancouver Island for people to use on-site 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

New Care and Connection Kiosk

New Care and Connection Kiosks provide discreet life-saving harm reduction supplies 24/7

Island Health is introducing three Care and Connection Kiosks at hospitals in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Victoria offering community members an innovative way to access free, life-saving, harm reduction supplies and information about mental health and substance use services, supports and treatment.

Read more

Expressions of Interest call for Island Health  Resilience and Safety Grants

Expressions of Interest call for Island Health Resilience and Safety Grants

For the second year, Island Health is allocating up to $1 million for resilience and safety grants aimed at helping improve mental health, mitigate the harms associated with illicit substance use and build youth resilience. 

Read more

hand holding heart

Digital memory wall honours those lost due to toxic drug poisoning this International Overdose Awareness Day

This International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) August 31, Island Health is hosting a digital memory wall to honour those lost to a toxic drug poisoning. IOAD is the world's largest annual campaign to end overdose, and this online memorial encourages everyone to remember, without stigma, those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of family, friends and caregivers left behind. 

Read more