Nova Scotia Health awards funding for two overdose prevention sites
Nova Scotia Health is pleased to announce that two community-based organizations will receive funding to operate overdose prevention sites. Direction 180, a Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre program, will operate a site in Halifax and the Ally Centre of Cape Breton will operate a site in Sydney.
A total of $500,000 will be provided to support the sites over the next two years. Announced earlier this year by the province’s Department of Health and Wellness, the funding is part of the effort to prevent opioid overdose deaths under Nova Scotia’s Opioid Use and Overdose Framework.
“Given the trend towards a toxic drug supply here in Cape Breton, the Ally Centre is pleased to be given the opportunity to provide this life-saving service to our community”, said Chris Porter, Executive Director of the Ally Centre of Cape Breton.
Paula Martin, Program Manager at Direction180 is delighted about the funding. “Funding to support the continuation of services provided by ReFix means people who use substances in HRM will continue to have access to safe and supportive health and social services. This funding also empowers people who use substances to engage in meaningful employment and contribute to the design and delivery of these services.”
Overdose prevention sites support harm reduction by providing equipment and a safe and caring space for people to use drugs. These sites are equipped to respond to overdoses and connect people to important health and social services.
Direction180 is a community-based opioid treatment program that uses a low-barrier harm reduction model of care, making minimal demands on clients and reducing or removing barriers for people to access services. They currently operate an overdose prevention site called ReFix in Halifax. This funding will support the continuation of the site.
Ally Centre of Cape Breton provides services, education, support and advocacy to help prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens in the community and to create a supportive environment for those infected and/or affected by blood borne pathogens. The overdose prevention site will complement their other services, which include needle distribution and disposal, primary health care services, and street outreach nursing.
In 2020, 50 people in Nova Scotia died because of opioid overdoses. Information on the province's overdose strategy can be found at www.novascotia.ca/opioid