Projects will provide training and awareness on opioid overdose response to 2.4 million Canadians and enable the distribution of 58,000 naloxone kits

1 Apr 2021

OTTAWA, ONMarch 29, 2021 /CNW/ - In many areas across Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically worsened the ongoing health crisis of opioid-related harms and deaths. People who use drugs continue to face barriers and risks related to the toxicity of the illegal drug supply and reduced access to health and social services, including life-saving harm reduction and treatment.

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Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $20 million in funding for the distribution of naloxone kits and opioid overdose response training to support communities that have been particularly affected by the opioid overdose crisis and are experiencing challenges in improving health outcomes of their residents. These include individuals living in rural and remote areas, Indigenous peoples, Northern residents, people experiencing homelessness, youth in communities at increased risk of opioid-related harms, and working-aged men.  

The funded projects will be led by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. These organizations play a key role in building awareness of opioids and substance use, including the signs of an overdose and the steps to take to help save a life. Additionally, the projects will provide education and training on how to administer naloxone and will increase access and distribution of naloxone kits in communities that need them the most. These new initiatives will supplement existing provincial and territorial take-home naloxone efforts.

The Government of Canada continues to collaborate with all levels of government, partners, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience of substance use, and organizations in communities across the country in its public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and overdose crisis.


"The opioid overdose crisis has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tragically, we are losing too many of our loved ones to overdose. We must redouble our efforts to keep our friends and families safe. Harm reduction and prevention measures, like increased access to naloxone and opioid overdose response training, save lives. I thank these organizations for their important work, which is saving lives across the country."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

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