Overdose and Toxic Drug Crisis

In April of 2016 BC's Public Health Officer declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency. To date this crisis has claimed over 3,000 lives and with the onset of COVID-19, has only escalated. NNPBC has focused on working with partners and colleagues on key issues such as safe supply, housing, mental health services, treatment, support, harm reduction and decriminalization.

Nursing is ideally positioned to provide critical support in addressing the best way forward in this crisis.
Please stay tuned to this page as we update it consistently with new resources and information. For any questions please email us at info@nnpbc.com.


NNPBC is working to amend existing Certified Practice competency statements to include prescribing specific competency language. These changes will align with the November 7 effective change date. The list of Certified Practice Competencies, can be found on this page.


Past Responses to the BC Opioid Crisis

Opioid Crisis - Key Messages
  • Nursing's reputation as the world's most trusted profession is based on its long history of working with the most vulnerable populations, often in times of crisis.
  • Nurses have a responsibility to protect and advocate for at risk populations, such as those who use drugs.
  • NNPBC endorses the province of BC move to decriminalize possession of illegal drugs for personal use, recognizing that the criminalization of drug involved lifestyles significantly contributes to risk of overdose.
  • NNPBC supports 'safe-supply' to prevent unnecessary overdose deaths with a regulated supply in addition to bolstering other resources in assisting individuals who use drugs.
  • NNPBC supports open communication channels from the Public Health Officer and the Ministry of Health to harm-reduction and outreach workers.
  • NNPBC applauds and supports the numerous peer support workers who work all across this province for their life-saving work.
  • NNPBC recognizes that understanding stigma and the lives of those impacted by negative and often damaging stereotypes is fundamental in ensuring that people who use substances achieve better health outcomes.
  • NNPBC wholeheartedly believes that an increase in nursing support to both shelter and harm reduction organizations and groups will help to alleviate the risks associated with drug use.
  • NNPBC recognizes that “system” inadequacies have a serious negative consequences on first responders which may lead to burnout and a reinforcing cycle perpetuating stigma toward people who use drugs.