The head of addictions programs in the Annapolis Valley says he will investigate claims of rampant prescription drug abuse in the area.

A local group says 11 people under the age of 27 have died since December.

That's news to Dr. John Campbell, director of mental health and addiction services for Annapolis Valley Health.

"If that was the case, I would be alarmed," he told CBC News.

Campbell met Tuesday with members of the local group, known as Help Those With Addictions Recover. He promised to look into each death.

Leslie Tilley said doctors have heard her group's plea and are now prescribing less oxycodone, Percocet and Dilaudid.

"Now we're going to have kids on the streets, addicts withdrawing with nowhere to go. If help isn't given right now, I really truly believe we're going to have a really, really big problem here in the Valley," she said.

Tilley said many addicts are "screaming" for long-term help.

Campbell said there is usually no waiting list for the six detox beds in the area. There is no residential program that follows, but there is community-based counselling.

There is no publicly funded methadone program in the Valley either. Two are in Halifax, one is in Cape Breton and the other is in Truro.

Campbell said a local doctor is part of a pilot project to prescribe methadone to help addicts.

He said the problems of prescription drug abuse in the Valley are no different than what's happening across North America.