49 people have died from opioid overdoses in NS this year

24/04/2019 Posted by admin

Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health says 19 different organizations are now working together to try and create an action plan for opioid drug use in the province.

Dr. Robert Strang says representatives from government departments, professional associations, health authorities and corrections are working on the plan. One of the things they are looking at is over-prescribing by doctors.

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“We have to acknowledge that there’s been a significant over-prescribing of higher potency opioids,” said Strang.

“That’s why one of the streams have to be working with front line care providers on more appropriate prescribing and prescription monitoring.”

READ MORE: Canada ranked second in world for per-capita opioid use

Opioid drug use is a long standing problem – but the use of illegal Fentanyl is creating new challenges.

“What we’ve seen in British Columbia and moving eastwards and we’re starting to see some sings of in Nova Scotia, is illegally produced Fentanyl, which is typically coming from China,” said Strang.

WATCH: Parents of Edmonton man accused of manslaughter in fentanyl death speak out

So far this year, 49 people have died in Nova Scotia as a result of an opioid overdose. Health officials say nearly a dozen others have been saved through the use of Naloxone, which temporarily blocks the effects opiates have on the body.

Seven of the deaths this year in the province have been from Fentanyl – two from illicit Fentanyl and five from prescriptions.

Fentanyl is the same drug that led British Columbia to declare a public health emergency in April after an alarming number of deaths.

“If we’re seeing 49 people who have overdosed and 11 people who have been rescued from Narcan. Based on a per capita basis, that’s almost as bad as B.C., that’s almost as bad as Alberta,” said Dr. David Milne.

FULL COVERAGE: Fentanyl in Canada

Halifax Regional Police say they are considering following the lead of the RCMP and providing officers with Naloxone kits, in case they come across a Fentanyl overdose.

“We are concerned about it cause there are incidents where we have found it within the city,” said Detective Darrell Gaudet, Halifax Regional Police.

“As a result of that we’ve taken precautions with our members and how to react to it.”

WATCH: Nova Scotia RCMP given Naloxone kits amid spreading fentanyl crisis

Strang says officials are working to create a comprehensive plan on how the province can combat the issue of opioid drug misuse.  He hopes their recommendations will be in place early next year.