The Port Alberni Shelter Society and Island Health implementing overdose prevention services in Port Alberni

PORT ALBERNI—As part of the response on Vancouver Island to the overdose public health emergency, the Port Alberni Shelter Society and Island Health have implemented an overdose prevention site at 3699 3rd Avenue in Port Alberni.

The Port Alberni-based overdose prevention service began operating on May 1, 2017. The service is being operated by the Port Alberni Shelter Society with funding from Island Health. The Shelter Society has opened a new location at 3699 3rd Avenue where they will be offering the overdose prevention site services and harm reduction services. There is space available at the new location to include additional support services in the future.

The overdose prevention service provides a place where people who use illicit opioid drugs can be safely monitored and treated immediately if they overdose. Staff at the site are equipped with naloxone and are trained for overdose response. The overdose prevention service is expected to be in operation as long as needed. The service will be available seven days a week, during regular business hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Overdose Prevention Services are part of a broad overdose response strategy that includes education, prevention, outreach, harm reduction, naloxone kits, counselling, substance use treatment and supports, and access to mental health services.

Between January 1 and December 31 2016, 155 people died from an illicit drug overdose in Island Health. 56 of these fatalities occurred in the Central Island region, and 24 people have died in the region in the first three months 2017, identifying the need to respond to the current health crisis with services for overdose prevention, and save lives.

Media Inquiries:
Port Alberni Shelter Society:
Wes Hewitt
Cell: 250-731-6767

Island Health:                                                                                     
Valerie Wilson         
Director, Communications and Community Engagement