Surrey’s new supervised consumption sites will be the first in Canada to also allow oral and intra-nasal consumption of drugs, in addition to injections.
Health Canada has approved Fraser Health to offer the additional supervision at SafePoint on 135A Street and Quibble Creek Sobering Assessment Centre, which both opened earlier this month.
“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,” provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall said in a news release.
“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.”
Since SafePoint opened on June 8, the site has seen more than 1,000 visits by 203 people, said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health chief medical health officer.
That’s an average of 5 visits per person.
During that time, 19 overdoses have been reversed.
Moreover, since January, nearly 400 people in Surrey have been connected to opioid agonist treatment, which includes the use of suboxone and methadone.
“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,” Lee said.
Note: An earlier version of this story stated smoking was allowed at Surrey’s consumption sites.