Our Place has been operating a “pop-up” supervised injection site for about a year. Island Health will open the Island’s first official supervised consumption service next door at 914 Pandora St. in late spring 2018. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Island Health sends out call to staff supervised consumption service in Victoria

Request for proposals open until January, site to open in late spring 2018

Island Health has issued two requests for proposals in an effort to make sure the Island’s first approved supervised consumption service – a safe injection site for drug users – is properly staffed when it opens at 941 Pandora St. next spring.

The health authority is reaching out to community service providers such as AIDS Vancouver Island, Cool Aid, Our Place Society and the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) to ensure those hired are well-versed in harm reduction.

“We will be looking for people with lived experience, that will very much be critical,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical officer for Island Health. “Individuals who understand they will be there during the injection and during the chill out.”

The 10-booth site will also staff a registered nurse for primary care, a social program officer to provide counselling treatment and a clinician to manage the consumption room and overdose responses. But Stanwick doesn’t want the facility to be thought of as an institution like a hospital.

“We want those with experience and empathy to bring a greater degree of professionalism to provide the kind of oversight needed for things like naloxone training,” he said.

Many staff from organizations like Our Place and PHS are already working in overdose prevention sites, Stanwick added. Of the 18 safe injection sites the province currently operates, nine are located on the Island.

Our Place has been operating a “pop-up” overdose prevention site since December 2016. Director of communications Grant McKenzie said there have been no deaths recorded since, despite close to 100 people using the service on a daily basis.

Insite was the first legal supervised drug injection site in North America when it opened in Vancouver’s downtown eastside in 2003.

“Vancouver has certainly provided us with the scientific foundation to formulate our thinking in terms of moving forward,” Stanwick said. “Nanaimo is probably another success and I think the testimony to all the groups operating these services is that we have not had a single death.”

When Island Health opens its supervised consumption service in late spring 2018, the operation will run seven days a week, 12 hours a day. The request for proposals deadline is Jan. 19, 2018 and can be found online at BCbid.gov.bc.ca.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing what comes in by January,” Stanwick said.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

Crash snarles traffic on Highway 17

Traffic southbound is seriously delayed and northbound down to one lane on… Continue reading

Victoria Police arrest man in relation to indecent act at Beacon Hill Park

The man is known to police, and is facing three charges

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Most Read