Kelowna overdoses prevented with supervised consumption site

Supervised Consumption Services helping people avoid overdose and receive health services

Kelowna’s Mobile Supervised Consumption Service is being lauded as a success.

It received 26,445 visits between June 2017 and July 2018 and aided in a total of 47 overdoses being reversed and there have been no overdose deaths on the unit.

A total of 394 referrals were initiated for clients in Kelowna seeking help with housing, mental health and addiction services, and other supports.

“The Mobile Supervised Consumption Services are an integral part of Interior Health’s response to the opioid overdose emergency, to which unfortunately no end is in sight,” said Interior Health Board Chair Doug Cochrane, in a press release. “We know we need to keep working to enhance substance use services, address stigma, and engage with our community partners. Every person matters and one death is too many.”

The mobile service operates seven days a week in downtown Kelowna (afternoon) and Rutland (evening) and offers a place where people who use drugs can be safely monitored and treated if they overdose.

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“We are really pleased to see clients accessing service through the mobile unit who may not otherwise seek out health services. These clients are now receiving medical care, accessing harm reduction services, and initiating referrals to important social supports,” said Danielle Cameron, Interior Health IH Central Health Service Administrator for Mental Health and Substance Use.

The Mobile Supervised Consumption Services are one piece of Interior Health’s broader response to the opioid overdose emergency. Other priority areas include: enhanced surveillance to better track overdoses; participation in the BC Take Home Naloxone program; and expanded Mental Health and Substance Use treatment programs, including increased outreach and follow-up efforts.

To learn more about Interior Health’s response to the ongoing opioid overdose crisis, visit the Public Health Overdose Emergency page at www.interiorhealth.ca.

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