Pubdate: Wed, 09 Aug 2017
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Kendra Wong


Dr. Richard Stanwick has been waiting a long time to see the opening
of Victoria's first supervised consumption site.

Now after more than 11 years, that dream is becoming a

Health Canada approved Island Health's application las week for a
supervised consumption site at 941 Pandora Ave., to be named the
Pandora Community Health and Wellness Centre.

The site will offer integrated health services including mental health
counselling, a nursing clinic and links to addiction treatment programs.

"This is going to save lives … If you think of a hub with many spokes,
this is but one component that we're adding in terms of trying to
address the opioid crisis," said Stanwick, Island Health's chief
medical officer.

"It [the supervised consumption site] does work because there hasn't
been a death in a overdose prevention site or a supervised consumption
site. When these events take place in these settings, at least we keep
the people alive and you have to be alive to receive treatment."

Extensive renovations will be undertaken at the site, and are modeled
after Insite in Vancouver and was the country's first supervised
injection site. They include creating additional and separate access
and exit doors, an area to accommodate up to 10 consumption booths
with mirrors so clients can be observed, and waiting/reception and
post-use area. There will also be mental health counselling, nurse
clinic and medication rooms.

Renovations are expected to cost $1.1 million, with an estimated
$700,000 in operating costs annually. The site is expected to open in
spring or summer next year, open 18 hours a day from roughly 9 a.m. to
3 a.m. seven days a week.

In December, Island Health opened a temporary overdose prevention site
outside Our Place in an attempt to curb the opioid crisis. Since then,
there have been more than 16,000 injections and more than 200 clients
who use the facility on a regular basis.

"This is welcome news for Victoria," said Marianne Alto, Victoria city
councillor. "This service will save lives and build a more supportive
community for the most vulnerable among us."

In February, Island Health submitted a joint application with the PHS
Community Services Society to operate a supervised consumption site at
844 Johnson Street, which is still under review.

The announcement of the Pandora site comes in the wake of the latest
overdose numbers that were released by the province last week. There
were 111 suspected overdose deaths in June across the province,
according to the B.C. Coroner's Service. Fifty people have died so far
in Victoria this year.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt