Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jul 2017
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Scott Brown
Page: 10


Vancouver Coastal Health will open the doors to Vancouver's newest
supervised injection site on Friday in the Downtown Eastside.

The Powell Street Getaway, located near Oppenheimer Park at 528 Powell
St., will be the third such facility in Vancouver. The Dr. Peter
Centre, an HIV-AIDS clinic, has offered supervised injection along
with other services in Vancouver's West End since 2002, while the
Downtown Eastside's Insite facility was the first sanctioned
supervised injection site in North America when it opened in 2003.

Powell Street Getaway is a drop-in centre for people living with
mental health and substance use challenges. An overdose prevention
site has been operating at this location since December.

Health Canada approved an application to permit supervised injections
at the centre - along with two sites in Surrey - in May, pending an
inspection of the facility. Health Canada completed the inspection
this week.

The VCH says two harm reduction workers and one licensed practical
nurse will supervise and monitor for signs and symptoms of an overdose
at the five booths. They'll also teach clients safer injection
practices, and refer clients to other health care services such as
substance use treatment and counselling.

"We know from research at Insite that supervised injection services
prevent overdose deaths and help connect people to treatment, which is
what is so badly needed right now," said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief
medical health officer at VCH. "At Insite there were 214,898 visits
last year with zero deaths. And staff treated 1,781 overdoses which
equals 1,781 mothers, sons, and friends' lives saved. The Powell
Street Getaway will be another place for people to access these
life-saving services."

Last year, B.C.'s provincial health officer declared a public health
emergency due to a significant increase in drug-related overdoses and
deaths in British Columbia.

Of the 922 people who died of an illicit-drug overdose in B.C. in
2016, 216 were in Vancouver, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Vancouver - with 179 overdose deaths in the city between Jan 1 and May
31 - is on pace for 430 OD deaths in 2017. A total of 640 OD deaths
occurred B.C.-wide during the first five months of 2017, putting the
province on pace for 1,536 deaths this year.
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