Public Health Overdose Emergency
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​This page will be updated regularly, please check back often.

On April 14, 2016, Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Medical Health Officer declared a public health emergency as per the Public Health Act in response to increasing overdoses and overdose deaths in our province. Details are available in the Ministry of Health news release

In response to this emergency declaration, Interior Health has established an Emergency Incident Management Team to provide direction and coordinate our response.

The team’s priorities are: enhanced fatal and non-fatal overdose surveillance, increased accessibility to harm reduction tools including Take Home Naloxone (THN) kits, implementing Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) in our highest risk communities, scaling-up substance use services for people who use drugs that are at highest risk of overdose, and population based education and prevention.

Take Home Naloxone program

The BC Take Home Naloxone (THN) program is provided in collaboration with BC Centre for Disease Control, regional health authorities and other community stakeholders. 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). This program is now available at all Interior Health Mental Health and Substance Use offices, public health centres and at several community agencies and pharmacies. For more information visit HealthLinkBC. Locate a Take Home Naloxone site in your community.

Many pharmacies now provide free take home naloxone kits to those at risk of overdose or who may witness an overdose. Find a location near you.

Get trained to use a naloxone kit. Naloxone training is now available online. Learn how to tell when somebody is overdosing, and how to respond with your Take Home Naloxone kit at

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 Primary Care Centre.

These sites will 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.

Review the summary documents on engagement in Kamloops and Kelowna.

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 services such as Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and methadone treatment. 

To find Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) services in Interior Health, contact your local Mental Health and Substance Use Services office or check the list of Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Clinics & Providers within the Interior. Your family physician may also be able to provide information on this service.

For more information, please see the OAT Resources Guide and visit the OAT Services map.

Lifeguard Overdose App

To help save more lives and ensure people who use drugs alone have access to the supports they need, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), in partnership with regional health authorities and Lifeguard Digital Health, launced a new made-in-B.C. resource called the Lifeguard App. The app is another tool in the province’s tool box to ensure a comprehensive response to the overdose crisis in British Columbia. 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

News and updates

Spread the word

The provincial overdose awareness page has print and web materials available for download. See Campaign Kit Materials in the sidebar for posters, social media images and web buttons. Share them widely and encourage others to do the same.



MoH     PCQO