Two temporary supervised drug consumption sites are set to open in Victoria next week in response to the staggering amount of drug overdoses within the province.
A public site will open at Our Place Society at 919 Pandora Avenue, and a private site will set up at 844 Johnson Street where some people from tent city were relocated. A third injection site is scheduled to open in Rock Bay at some point.
“The city has been very supportive – as have the police,” said Grant McKenzie, spokesperson for Our Place Society.
McKenzie added that the site on Pandora will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will have a full-time paramedic on site. Education on overdose prevention will also be offered, and staff will have access to the antidote naloxone in the event of an overdose.
Councillor Marianne Alto said the city has been working with Island Health and the Victoria Police Department to establish more permanent sites but is still waiting on exemptions from the federal government.
“But the fact of the matter is people are dying, and we need to do something,” said Alto.
Drug overdoses in B.C. have reached an unprecedented high with there being 622 overdoses from January to October of this year; the B.C.’s Coroners Service attributes 120 overdoses to Vancouver Island.
Supervised sites in Vancouver opened this week, while additional sites in Surrey will also open next week.