Saskatchewan has proclaimed August 31 as Overdose Awareness Day and the province is once again partnering with Moms Stop the Harm on a campaign to reduce the risk of overdose and stigma related to drug overdoses.

“Overdose tragedies happen to people from all walks of life in communities throughout the province,” Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Everett Hindley said. “This day is an opportunity to remind people who use drugs, their family and friends, and the public, of the resources available to reduce the risk of an overdose or how to potentially save the life of someone who is overdosing.”

“Treating people struggling with addictions with dignity and respect is the first step in being able to get them the support that they so desperately need,” Director of Moms Stop The Harm Saskatchewan, Marie Agioritis said. “Talking openly about addictions and what is available to support the recovery journey of a loved one can make all the difference, not just for the individual, but their entire network of friends and family.”

The Government of Saskatchewan has invested a record $470 million for mental health and addiction services in 2022-23, including $67 million for harm reduction, prevention, detox and treatment initiatives.

Some of the major initiatives in the 2022-23 budget include:

  • $3.8 million in harm reduction supports including: annualized funding for the operation of community wellness busses to be launched in spring 2023; expanding the supply of fentanyl and benzodiazepine drug checking test strips and Take Home Naloxone kits; supporting 30 fixed harm reduction sites and four mobile harm reduction vans to provide basic health care, safer supplies and outreach services to at-risk people in their neighborhoods in Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton and North Battleford. A fifth van is also starting initial operations in Prince Albert;
  • $2.2 million to operate Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics in North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, which provide quick access to specialized addictions treatment services and connect individuals to services, including ongoing addiction treatment, mental health services and other community programs. The North Battleford RAAM clinic is the newest addition, which opened this summer, June 23, 2022;
  • $2.1 million to support the first year of a three-year commitment for 150 new addictions treatment spaces;
  • $1.6 million for 12 additional treatment beds and two pre-treatment beds in Estevan;
  • $1 million for the Drug Task Force for community projects such as hot-spotting (a strategy to help direct resources to people at highest risk in specific geographic regions), targeted anti-stigma and trauma-informed training, and other coordinated research into drug harms; and
  • $475,000 to improve access to additional detox spaces across the province.

Saskatchewan residents who are at risk of an opioid overdose and/or might witness an opioid overdose are eligible to receive free Take Home Naloxone kits, which can temporarily reverse opioid overdoses. These life-saving kits are available in more than 76 communities and over 225 sites across the province. The number of locations will continue to increase as the program expands its partnerships with community pharmacies.

Other overdose prevention efforts include the recent purchase of four drug checking spectrometers that are currently in use in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford.

“These are significant investments, but we know there is more work that can be done to help reduce overdoses,” Hindley said. “We will continue work on initiatives to ensure Saskatchewan residents are supported with treatment options.”

Using substances alone puts individuals at higher risk of overdose. Volunteers are available through the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-NORS (6677) to call for help. If you witness an overdose, call 911. Under the Good Samaritan Act, you will not be charged for possession of an illegal substance if you are calling for assistance during an overdose.

Visit for more information on overdose prevention.