Stock photo licensed by Victoria Buzz

Health Canada has given Island Health approval to open a supervised consumption service (SCS) in Victoria. 

The service will help reverse overdoses and connect people with treatment services in Victoria, which has B.C.’s third highest rate of drug overdose deaths.

Pandora Community Health and Wellness Centre

Supervised consumption services will be available at 941 Pandora Avenue. The building there will now be named the Pandora Community Health and Wellness Centre. The SCS will also offer integrated health services including mental health.

“Providing supervised consumption services is a critical component of ensuring people can use drugs in a safe space and find support… when they are ready to begin recovery,” said BC’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy.

“There is no one single solution to the overdose crisis. We must deliver a broad strategy so that when people need services, they ask once and get the help they need fast.”

A temporary overdose prevention site at Our Place, opened on December 20, 2016, will close when the SCS is operational.

Safe Injection kit consumption service
A sample safe injection kit, photo via opiateaddictionresource.com

 

Another Application Under Review

Island Health has also made a joint application with PHS Community Services Society (PHS) to operate supervised consumption services at 844 Johnson. That application is under review by Health Canada.

In the meantime, there are eight overdose prevention sites on the Island from Victoria to Campbell River.

Between January and May 2017, there have been more than 26,600 visits and 310 overdoses.

There have been zero deaths at any overdose prevention site in BC.

Latest Illicit Drug Death Numbers Released

 

Illicit drug deaths in British Columbia continue to be a serious concern with the number of overdose deaths in the province up 88% compared with the same period in 2016, according to the latest statistics from the BC Coroners Service.

  • Provisional data show 111 suspected drug overdose deaths in June 2017, an average of 3.7 each day and a 61% increase from June 2016.
  • Provisional number of deaths for 2017 increases to 780, up from 414 at this time in 2016
  • Almost three-quarters of all illicit drug deaths involved persons between the ages of 30 and 59 years.
  • Four out of five who died were male.
  • Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have the highest number (258 and 249, respectively) of illicit drug overdose deaths, making up 65% of all illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C..

What to do if you witness an overdose

Those who are in the company of someone who has used drugs should note that heavy snoring and the inability to be awakened are signs of the respiratory distress caused by an overdose.

Call 911 immediately if these symptoms are present.

New federal legislation provides immunity from simple possession charges for those who call 911.

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