Overdose Crisis – Information & Prevention
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​This page will be updated regularly, please check back often.

If someone is experiencing an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are in crisis call 1-888-353-2273 for immediate assistance (24 hours, 7 days per week).

We continue to see increasingly high levels of overdose activity and concerning drug checking results across the province. The drug supply is highly toxic and people who use drugs need to take precautions:

  • Have a buddy or download the free Lifeguard app;
  • Don’t mix substances including pharmaceuticals and alcohol;
  • Use less and pace yourself;
  • Carry naloxone and know how to use it;
  • Access overdose prevention services and supervised consumption where available;
  • Recognize the signs of an overdose: slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to awaken, or non-responsive. 
  • If someone is experiencing an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, call 9-1-1.

Important Reminders for Community Partners: Overdose Prevention

Overdose and Drug Checking Alerts

If you are concerned about overdose activity in your community visit IH Harm Reduction. For information about drug checking services in your area visit www.drugchecking.ca.

A Note About Benzodiazepines:

Drug checking continues to detect benzodiazepines (benzos) in drug samples in communities across Interior Health. Benzodiazepines have been found in a variety of substances, most often sold as “down”, heroin, or fentanyl. A wide range of colours and textures have been identified.

Benzodiazepines mixed with opioids carry a high risk of overdose and can cause prolonged sedation, sleepiness, muscle relaxation, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, black outs/memory loss.
Responding to overdoses involving BOTH Opioids and Benzos is more complex. Naloxone does not work on Benzos, BUT naloxone will work on the opioid overdose symptoms.  After giving breaths and naloxone, the person may begin breathing normally, but may not wake up. More doses of naloxone should only be given if the person is not breathing normally (less than 10 breaths a minute). If the person is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place in recovery position and stay with them until emergency services arrive.

For more information visit:
IH - Mixed Opioid and Benzodiazepine Overdose
BCCDC- Responding to an Opioid Overdose with Benzodiazepines or Etizolam  
BCCDC - Do I keep giving Naloxone? 

News and updates

Take Home Naloxone program

Naloxone is an opioid overdose antidote that is widely available throughout IH through the provincial Take Home Naloxone program. The program provides training and naloxone kits free of charge to people who are at risk of an opioid overdose and those likely to witness an overdose (including friends and family members of those at risk of overdose). For more information visit HealthLinkBC. Locate a Take Home Naloxone site in your community.

Learn how to tell when somebody is overdosing, and how to respond with your Take Home Naloxone kit at www.naloxonetraining.com.

Supervised Consumption and Overdose Prevention Services

Supervised consumption services and Overdose Prevention Sites are evidence-based health services that provide a safe and hygienic environment where people can inject or consume pre-obtained prescribed or illicit drugs under the supervision of trained staff.

Interior Health has implemented Mobile Supervised Consumption Services in Kamloops and in Kelowna, and operates an Overdose Prevention Site within Vernon’s Downtown Mental Health & Substance Use centre. An Overdose Prevention Site is also available in Kelowna's Outreach Urban Health Centre. Community agencies offer Overdose Prevention Sites in Kamloops and Nelson.

These sites offer a place where people who use drugs can be safely monitored and treated if they overdose. These sites also provide enhanced harm reduction services including the distribution of naloxone and other harm reduction supplies as well as health care services and referrals for treatment.

Treatment services

Our Mental Health and Substance Use offices provide a full range of services to improve the health and well-being of people with substance use problems.

In response to the public health overdose emergency our Mental Health and Substance programs have implemented enhanced follow up for individuals who present to emergency departments due to an overdose; this includes expanded outreach services along with work to increase access to evidence-based Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) services, such as Suboxone and methadone, considered the first line of treatment for opioid addiction. New treatments including Injected OAT (iOAT) and Tablet (TiOAT) have been introduced in some communities.

To find OAT services talk to your doctor or contact your local Mental Health and Substance Use Services office or check the list of Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Clinics & Providers. For more information, please see the OAT Resources Guide and visit the OAT Services map.

Lifeguard Overdose App

The free and easy to use Lifeguard App is another tool to respond to overdoses in B.C. The app is activated by the user before they take their dose. After 50 seconds the app will sound an alarm. If the user doesn’t hit a button to stop the alarm, indicating they are fine, the alarm grows louder. After 75 seconds a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a potential overdose. The Lifeguard App can be downloaded at both the App Store and Google Play.


An enhanced surveillance system has been implemented that allows us to track both overdose deaths and overdoses with recovery. This timely collection of critical data will help inform our response to this emergency.

Surveillance reports

Overdose Monthly Reports

Note these reports are updated as surveillance data becomes available. There is always a delay in posting monthly reports.



MoH     PCQO