June 27, 2017
Fraser Health receives exemption to supervised consumption of oral and intra-nasal substances
Health Canada has approved Fraser Health to provide supervised consumption of oral and intra-nasal substances in addition to injections at its two supervised consumption sites in Surrey – the first time such an exemption has been granted in Canada.
“The ability to supervise the consumption of substances, whether by injection, oral, or intra-nasal methods, means more overdoses will be reversed and more lives will be saved,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “In addition, staff at both sites will have greater opportunities to engage with people and connect them to treatment services when they are willing to access them.”
SafePoint on 135A Street opened on June 8 and is operated in partnership with the Lookout Emergency Aid Society. Quibble Creek Sobering and Assessment Centre on 94A Avenue began providing supervised consumption services to clients of the centre on June 20.
“Since opening on June 8, we have had more than one thousand visits. This latest exemption from Health Canada means we will be more inclusive and provide care to more people,” said Fraser Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Victoria Lee.
Since its opening, SafePoint has seen 1,079 visits by 203 people who have accessed supervised consumption services, with an average of 5.3 visits per person. During that time, 19 overdoses have been reversed, with zero deaths. Moreover, since January, nearly 400 people in Surrey have been connected to opioid agonist treatment, an approach which uses medications (Suboxone and methadone) to treat opioid addiction. On 135A Street, opioid agonist treatment is provided at a location adjacent to SafePoint.
“While our primary concern is reversing overdoses and saving lives, we also know that supervised consumption sites can be a gateway to treatment and other necessary social and health care services for some of our most vulnerable people,” said Lee.
At SafePoint, supervised consumption services are provided daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Quibble Creek provides supervised consumption services exclusively to clients of the centre between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Fraser Health’s new supervised consumption services support the work of the Joint Task Force on Overdose Response established in 2016. As part of the wide range of actions taken, partners across the health system continue to expand access to life-saving naloxone and opioid addiction medications and treatments such as Suboxone, open overdose prevention sites, work with Health Canada on approvals to open additional supervised consumption sites and improve the system of substance use services.