Overdose Prevention Services

Overdose prevention services island health

In April of 2016, the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia declared a public health emergency related to the number of people dying from opioid poisonings. From 2016 and to the end of 2020 we lost 1,075 people in the Island Health region to toxic drug poisonings. We take time to remember and honour them as moms and dads, siblings, friends and loved ones who were lost too soon.  

If someone overdoses:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Provide rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth)
  • Administer Naloxone 
  • How to respond to an overdose 
  • Overdose Prevention and Supervised Consumption Locations (ALSO LISTED BELOW) are locations where people can use illegal drugs under supervision by trained staff. As part of healthcare services, staff in these locations monitor people who are at risk of overdose and provide rapid intervention if necessary. 

Using alone is the biggest risk. Here are some options for safer use:

Fix with a friend

Fix with a friend, and stagger use with friends so someone can respond or call for help if needed

Small amounts

Try a small amount of new drugs first

One drug at a time

Use only one drug at a time. Stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses

Naloxone

Carry and use Naloxone (Narcan) and have an overdose response plan

Find Support Services

Phone for substance use and mental health support

  • Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service – Toll fee 1-800-663-1441. Free 24/7 confidential multilingual information and referral to community resources. Information about detox, counselling, treatment,  recovery, and support groups
  • Kuu-us Aboriginal Crisis Line – Call toll free: 1-888-588-8717
  • Vancouver Island Crisis Line – Call toll free: 1 888 494 3888 Text: 250-800-3806 
Safer Drug Use Resources
  • National Overdose Response Service 1-888-688-NORS (6677) - an overdose prevention hotline that provides loving, confidential, non-judgmental support for you, whenever and wherever you use drugs
  • BeSafe Community/Brave App – an App that connects you with community members when you are vulnerable to an overdose. Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play
  • LifeGuard App - This life-saving app can automatically connect you to emergency responders if you become unresponsive. Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Start a Conversation

Stopoverdose.gov.bc.ca

Places to go for safer drug use

Please see Overdose Prevention and Supervised Consumption Locations for a list of sites in your community.

Campbell River

Vancouver Island Mental Health Society
1330 Dogwood Street, Unit #5
Campbell River
V9W 3A6
250-287-9969
Fax: 250-287-9858

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Hours of Operation
Seven days a week, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., injection and inhalation

HARM REDUCTION SERVICES
•    Harm reduction supplies
•    Overdose Prevention Services – witnessed consumption for safer drug use and rapid overdose response
•    Education for safer drug use
•    Referrals and links to other services
•    Referral to and assistance navigating social and health care systems
 

Comox Valley - Courtenay

941C England Ave
Courtenay, B.C.
V9N 2N7
 
250-331-8524 x 68545
Fax: 250-331-8525

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Hours of Operation
Seven days a week: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., injection only

HARM REDUCTION SERVICES 
•    Harm reduction supplies, support and education
•    Overdose Prevention Room for safer drug use and rapid overdose response
•    Education for safer drug use
•    Referrals and links to other Island Health and/or community services, such as withdrawal management, case management and access to primary care

Duncan

Lookout Housing and Health Society
221 Trunk Rd
Duncan, B.C.
V9L 2P3
(Entrance is through side door off of Ypres Street)
250-597-7779

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SERVICES
•    harm reduction supplies and education
•    referrals to health services, addictions services and other social supports
•    needle exchange 
•    witnessed consumption, including inhalation

Nanaimo

CMHA - Mid-Island
437 Wesley St.
Nanaimo, B.C.
V9R 2T8
250-591-3999

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Hours of Operation
Seven days a week: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., injection only

SERVICES
•    education
•    prevention
•    outreach
•    harm reduction
•    naloxone kits
•    counselling
•    substance use treatment
•    supports and access to mental health services
•    witnessed consumption

Port Alberni

Port Alberni Shelter Society
3699 3rd Ave (Off Bute St)
Port Alberni, B.C.
V9Y 4E7
778-419-0016

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Hours of Operation
Seven days a week: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., injection and inhalation

SERVICES
•    education
•    prevention
•    outreach
•    harm reduction
•    naloxone kits
•    counselling
•    substance use treatment and supports
•    access to mental health services
•    witnessed consumption, including inhalation

Victoria - Rock Bay Landing

Victoria Cool Aid Society - Rock Bay Landing
535 Ellice St.
Victoria, B.C.
V8T 4T3
250-383-1951 ext. 2247

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Hours of Operation
7 days a week: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

SERVICES
•    education
•    prevention
•    outreach
•    harm reduction
•    naloxone kits
•    counselling
•    substance use treatment
•    supports and access to mental health services
•    witnessed consumption, including inhalation 

Victoria - The Harbour

941 Pandora Ave
Victoria, B.C.
V8V 3P4
250-519-5303

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Hours of Operation
Monday to Sunday (seven days a week)
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SERVICES
•    10 consumption booths
•    post-use areas
•    rooms for counselling
•    medical help
•    naloxone kits
•    education and support
Site formerly known as Pandora Supervised Consumption Centre.

Victoria - Comfort Inn (building residents only)

Comfort Inn
3020 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC
V8T 5C7

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Hours of Operation
7 days a week: 12 - 5 p.m.

Victoria - Howard Johnson (building residents only)

Howard Johnson
310 Gorge Rd East
Victoria, BC
V8T 2W2

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Hours of Operation
7 days a week, 12 - 9 p.m.

SERVICES 
•    Overdose Prevention Service for safer drug use and rapid overdose response
•    Inhalation services available
•    Access to managed alcohol program and safer drinking education
•    Access to Risk Mitigation prescribing
•    Harm reduction supplies
•    Harm reduction training for residents
•    Wellness services and checks

Victoria - Travelodge (building residents only)

123 Gorge Road East
Victoria, BC
V9A 1L1

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Hours of Operation
7 days a week:
12 - 9 p.m.


Naloxone

Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl. It is available in BC without a prescription.

Learn more about Naloxone.
Take home a Naloxone kit.


Get Help

Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service – Toll free 1-800-663-1441. Free 24/7 confidential multilingual information and referral to community resources. Information about detox, counselling, treatment, recovery, and support groups. 

Kuu-us Aboriginal Crisis Line – Call toll free: 1-888-588-8717
Vancouver Island Crisis Line – Call toll free: 1 888 494 3888 Text: 250-800-3806 

Find mental health and substance use health services 

Find crisis and emergency services


Learn More

Learn more about overdose prevention at towardtheheart.com    
For more information on overdose awareness in B.C., visit stopoverdose.gov.bc.ca .

Overdose Prevention Services are allowed under special Ministerial Order (Ministerial Order M488) under the Emergency Services Act. Supervised Consumption Services are approved by Health Canada for exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.


Questions?

Can I get arrested for being at an overdose?

No. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act says if you are at the scene an overdose and you or someone else calls 911, you are not to be charged with simple possession (possessions for your own use) of an illegal substance. You are also not to be charged for breach of probation or parole relating to simple drug possession. 
good samaritan act poster 20170718 (towardtheheart.com)

What are fentanyl test strips and where can I get them?

Drug testing strips (fentanyl test strips) are available at Overdose Prevention or Supervised Consumption sites across Island Health. The test strips are easy to use, and you can use them at one of Island Health’s testing locations and/or get trained to do the test yourself and take some strips with you. It is very important to follow the instructions that you will receive with your test strips. If you decide to get the test done at one of our testing locations, your drugs will be in your possession at all times. Click here to learn more.

What do the test results mean?

A positive result means that fentanyl – or another drug that is like fentanyl (a fentanyl analogue) - has been found in the drug sample, and it could be in other parts of the batch. It cannot tell you how much fentanyl is in the drug.

A negative result means the test strip did not detect fentanyl (or a fentanyl analogue) within the tested sample – but a negative test result does not guarantee the drug is free from fentanyl or any of its analogues. Fentanyl is not evenly mixed into street drugs. A negative result does not mean a substance is safe. 

Learn more about fentanyl here: https://towardtheheart.com/fentanyl

I don’t have anyone I can use with. What else can I do?

Here are some options for safer drug use.

Safer drug use:

  • National Overdose Response Service 1-888-688-NORS (6677) - an overdose prevention hotline that provides loving, confidential, non-judgmental support for you, whenever and wherever you use drugs.
  • BeSafe Community/Brave App – an App that connects you with community members when you are vulnerable to an overdose. Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.
  • LifeGuard App - This life-saving app can automatically connect you to emergency responders if you become unresponsive. Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Phone for mental health support and referral:

What is the Lifeguard App and how can I get it?

The Lifeguard App is a digital tool that connects emergency responders automatically to people who are alone and who may have accidentally overdosed. The app is especially helpful if you live in an urban area, have a smartphone, and have access to cellular service or Wifi. The app will probably not be as useful in rural and remote areas as emergency responders can take longer to arrive due to the greater distances that they need to travel.

How does the app work? When someone is about to use drugs, they open the app and record the type of substance they are using and confirm their location. The app will hold this information and a timer is set. When the timer ends, the app will sound an alarm, flash a light, and vibrate. The user must hit a button to stop the alarm and indicate they are fine. If they are unable to stop the alarm, a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a possible overdose.

The Lifeguard App can be downloaded for free to your smartphone or tablet through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Where can I go to find treatment and recovery for First Nations?

First Nations peoples are disproportionately represented in overdose deaths in BC. The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is responding to this public health crisis with ways to get informed, get help, and support others – with facts, services, and compassion. Click here to find out more about prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and healing. 

In BC, there are 10 First Nations residential treatment centres. There are three within Island Health: the Namgis Treatment Centre in Alert Bay; Kackaamin in Port Alberni; and Tsow Tun Le Lum Society in Lantzville (Nanaimo). For more information, contact the First Nations Health Authority toll free at 1-866-913-0033
 

General Information on Overdose Prevention Services

Referral Required?
Not required

Locations

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