Overdose prevention

Overdose emergency

In April 2016, BC’s Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency due to the rising number of drug overdose deaths in BC. Illicit drug overdose deaths in BC (PDF) have risen from roughly 200/year in 2010, to over 1700/year in 2020.

This has been primarily driven by the introduction of fentanyl, and fentanyl analogues, into the illicit drug supply. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid that has largely replaced heroin, because it is much cheaper to produce. Its high potency, combined with substandard processing on the black market, make dosing highly unpredictable.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the overdose emergency. COVID-19 restrictions have further disrupted the black market drug supply, leading to even more unpredictability for consumers, while physical distancing recommendations and concerns about COVID-19 infection have led some people who use drugs to feel less safe seeking health services or peer support.

This page provides key information for people who use drugs, families, health care workers, and community partners regarding substance use, overdose recognition and response, harm reduction and treatment services, and other related topics.

News and data

British Columbia has been granted an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to remove criminal penalties for drug law violations (i.e. possession for personal use). In that capacity, adults 18 and older in BC will be permitted to possess up to 2.5 grams of illicit substances, and will not be liable for fines, arrest or drug seizures. This exemption will be in effect from Jan. 31, 2023, to Jan. 31, 2026, throughout British Columbia. For more information please see Decriminalizing people who use drugs in BC – Government of BC.

B.C. is working with Health Canada and taking action to make illicit drug use illegal in all public spaces, including inside hospitals, on transit and in parks, by giving police more tools to keep people and communities safe.

Recognize and respond to an overdose

Know the signs

Know the signs for overdose


Know the Response: SAVE ME Steps

Know the Response: SAVE ME Steps



Addiction treatment

Drug checking

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) drug checking


Site address

Prince George

The POUNDS Project Society
Address: 1126 3rd Ave
Hours: 4 days a week, 1 pm to 9 pm Wednesday through Saturday (closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays)
Additional details: We can be contacted through our Facebook page


Terrace Northwest Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT)
Address: Stepping Stones Building, 101-4450 Greig Ave
Hours: Four days a week, 8:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday

For more information on drug checking:

Fentanyl strip drug checking


Site address

Daajing Giids (formerly the Village of Queen Charlotte)

Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Center
Address: 3209 Oceanview Dr
Phone: 250-559-4900

Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Society
Address: 5012 49th Ave
Phone: 250-774-2993

Riggs Safety
Address: 5420 50th Ave
Phone: 250-321-3267

Fort St. John

Fort St John Women’s Resource Center
Address: 10051 100 Ave
Phone: 250-787-1121


Hazelton Health Center
Address: 2510 HWY 62
Phone: 250-842-4640


Houston Health Center
Address: 3202 14 St
Phone: 250-845-2294


Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre
Address: 2520 Harrison Ave
Phone: 250-626-4700

Prince George

Prince George Aids Prevention Program
Address: 277 George St
Phone: 250-645-3810


Quesnel CSUN peer organization
Address: #3 445 Anderson Dr
Phone: 250-991-0091


Smithers Positive Living North
Address: 3862 Broadway Ave
Phone: 250-877-0042

Specialized Mental Health and Substance Use Outreach Team
3862 Broadway Ave
Phone: 250-643-7456


Terrace Health Unit
Address: 3412 Kalum St
Phone: 250-631-4200


Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT)

Please refer to the following resources by community who can assist you:


Dawson Creek:

  • Dawson Creek Mental Health and Addictions
    Phone: 250-719-6525

Dease Lake:

Fort Nelson:

Fort St. James:

Fort St. John:

  • Fort St. John Specialized Service
    Phone: 250-263-6005
    Fax: 250-785-0555



  • Mackenzie and District Hospital and Health Centre
    Phone: 250-997-4342


Prince George:

Prince Rupert:







Overdose Prevention Services (OPS)

Dawson Creek

  • Dawson Creek (temporary) OPS
    Address: 1001 110 Ave, Dawson Creek, BC
    Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm

Fort St. John

  • Fort St. John OPS
    Address: 10067 100th Ave, Fort St. John, BC
    Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm

Prince George

  • Prince George Needle Exchange
    Address: 277 George St, Prince George, BC, V2L 1R1
    Phone: 250-645-3810
    Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 11:30 am, and 1:15 pm to 6:30 pm
    OPS by request/Door service, Sunday, 9 am to 1 pm, and OPS/Drop-in, 1 pm to 6 pm
    Nursing services by appointment, Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 11:30 am, with open clinic hours from 1:15 pm to 6:15 pm
  • Mobile harm reduction supplies (The Wellness Truck) 
    Monday to Saturday, 7 pm to 11:30 pm
  • The POUNDS Project Society
    Address: 1126 3rd Ave, Prince George, BC
    OPS/Drop-in, Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm


  • CSUN
    Address: 3-445 Anderson Dr, Quesnel, BC
    Friday to Wednesday, 4 pm to 10 pm
  • Quesnel Specialized Services
    Address: 395 Elliott St, Quesnel, BC
    Monday to Friday, 11 am to 6:45 pm (excluding holidays)


  • Terrace Intensive Case Management Team
    Address: 101-4450 Greig Ave, Terrace, BC (Stepping Stones Building)
    Phone: 250-631-4647
    Monday to Friday, 12 pm to 4 pm (excluding holidays)

Supports for families and loved ones

Take home

Youth services

Safer substance use

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of overdose:

  • Don't use alone
  • Start with a small amount
  • Mixing substances, including alcohol, increases risk of overdose
  • Use where help is easily available (e.g. around other people)
  • Use less. If you took a break, were in detox/treatment or jail, or are new to use, your tolerance is lower
  • If you have ever experienced an overdose, this may increase your risk to overdose again
  • Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose
  • Get the Lifeguard APP (BC Govt)

Information for health professionals

Health professionals and service providers have a vital role in overdose prevention and response. This area contains links to trusted resources and information to help those working to save lives and reduce harms.

Stigma reduction

Information from other organizations

Peer support resources

The involvement of people with lived or living experience of drug use (Peers) is a critical component of effective overdose prevention work. A network has been established to support connection between Peers in the North, and to enable engagement with health care service providers. For more information, please contact Peer.Network@northernhealth.ca

Community corner