Overdose Prevention & Education Network of Niagara

The Overdose Prevention and Education Network of Niagara (OPENN) consists of members from prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement agencies. We work together to decrease opioid overdoses in Niagara.

If you are interested in joining the OPENN Network, please email your interest to Brenda at Brenda.Yeandle@niagarahealth.on.ca

Important, timely, Niagara-specific drug information called Adverse Advisory Reaction Alerts for our community are posted here.

Did you know? Bill C-224 (The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act) passed in Canada on May 4, 2017 protects people who call 911 for assistance in an overdose situation from being prosecuted for drug possession.

Dates of Importance

  • Community information and events are here
  • May 7 is International Harm Reduction Day – This day promotes policy, practices, and human rights. 
  • August 31 is International Overdose Awareness DayThis is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.
  • September is Recovery MonthSubstance use treatment and mental health services can assist those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. Awareness-raising events and promotions this month help us celebrate the gains made by those in recovery.
  • November is National Addictions Awareness Week. Awareness-raising campaigns and conferences this month provide opportunities to learn more about prevention, talk about treatment and recovery, and promote solutions for change.

Safe Storage and Disposal of Prescription or Over-The-Counter Medication

  • Lock up your medications to keep them safe and away from individuals they are not prescribed for
  • Take back all unused or old medications to your local pharmacy; they will dispose of them free.
  • Type in your postal code to find a drop off location near you.
  • Do not flush old or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications down the toilet or drain. These drugs can pollute our water and expose us to the chemicals in these drugs.

Get your free Naloxone Kit

It is important to talk to your loved ones who you know or suspect are using substances about the importance of not using alone and having a naloxone kit available in case of overdose. 

Anyone can carry naloxone for any reason. Currently, over 30 programs and organizations across the Niagara region are enrolled in the Ontario Naloxone Program. Search the link below to find the closest pharmacy or community organization where you can pick up a free naloxone kit. No doctor’s prescription is required and kits are free.

Opioid Statistics

Harm Reduction

  • Call 911 for every overdose.
  • Do CPR. Push hard, push fast.
  • Never use alone. Call an overdose prevention hotline for confidential, non-judgemental support before you use drugs to connect with people who want to help you stay safe at 1-888-688-6677.
  • Do a test dose first.
  • Do not use opioids with alcohol or other drugs.
  • If using drugs with others, do not use drugs at the exact same time.
  • Access opioid treatments (e.g., Suboxone or Methadone).
  • Seek medical care for unusual skin lesions.
  • Carry Naloxone: Get FREE naloxone kits. More than one dose may be needed.
  • Using drugs comes with health risks, but using safer practices can help reduce the risks. This guide to using harm reduction supplies as engagement tools provides resources and best practices to support frontline workers in their day-to-day work.

Niagara’s Substance Use Prevention Strategy guides our work.

Strategies and educational opportunities are critical influences on social determinants of health, directly impacting the opioid crisis. (e.g., situations such as unstable income or housing, safety, and health services).

OPENN network members support evidence-based strategies and educational opportunities that positively impact health and substance use.

The following initiatives are critical influences on the opioid crisis and help move our strategy recommendations into action:

  • Niagara’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is a plan that addresses four areas of focus: mental health and addictions, housing and homelessness, poverty and income, and systemic discrimination in Niagara, and identifies opportunities that can come from working collectively to address these complex issues.
  • Learn more about the work being done to address homelessness in Niagara
  • Sign-up for a quarterly Homelessness Services newsletter
  • Apply for affordable housing in Niagara
  • Check out this free educational online tool by Health Canada to help educate teens and young adults on the facts surrounding the opioid crisis, opioid use, fentanyl, naloxone, and stigma
  • Let’s continue to expand on the number of living wage employers in Niagara. More details on the program here.

Get help now!

CALL 2-1-1 or Search Here for services


Streetworks Needle and Syringe Program (NSP)
Harm reduction materials are available through Positive Living Niagara at their office, satellite sites or mobile van.

Local options for addiction treatment in Niagara include:

Bereavement Support
For those who have lost loved ones due to substances:

Support Phone Lines
Distress Centre

  • St. Catharines / Niagara Falls: 905-688-3711
  • Welland / Port Colborne: 905-734-1212
  • Grimsby / Beamsville: 905-563-6674
  • Fort Erie: 905-382-0689

Other Services


The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Opioid-Related Harm in Ontario, Source: 2021 Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, Published September 9, 2021, Version 1