A new mobile overdose prevention service is now open in Abbotsford to support people who use substances and help prevent toxic drug poisonings and toxic drug deaths.
The mobile overdose prevention site is a specialized service with a customized van, offering witnessed consumption of substances including inhalation. Located at Lonzo Road and Sumas Way, the site is open daily from noon to 6 p.m.
“Almost everyone in our province knows someone whose life has been touched by the poisoned drug crisis,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, on Tuesday. “The new mobile overdose prevention site in Abbotsford meets people where they are, with the services they need. This will save lives.”
Fraser Health is partnering with Lookout Health and Housing Society to provide people with a safe and welcoming environment to consume their own substances witnessed by harm reduction workers and peer support workers who care about their security and well-being.
In addition to witnessed consumption, clients can access Take Home Naloxone kits and supplies at the mobile overdose prevention site. In addition, Fraser Health outreach teams, including the new Overdose Outreach Team and the Integrated Homelessness Action Response Team will be available to help connect people to other health services including mental health and substance use supports.
“The overdose public health emergency continues to have a significant impact in every community in our region, and is a tragic reminder of how an increasingly unpredictable and toxic drug supply combined with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting people from all walks of life,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO, Fraser Health. “We must continue to think outside the box and find new ways to connect people to care, whether it’s stand-alone or mobile services, outreach, in-reach or virtual.”
Currently, Fraser Health supports nine overdose prevention and supervised consumption services in its region. In addition, there are dozens of other locations—in shelters and supportive housing—where people can use substances in monitored settings.
“We know that these sites reduce the harm, injury and deaths related to people using drugs alone,” said Terry Brock, Director of Health, Fraser Region, Lookout Housing and Health Society. “The new mobile overdose prevention service is very much needed in Abbotsford.”
Data from the BC Coroner’s Service shows 68 people died of drug overdoses in Abbotsford between January and October 2021, the highest-ever recorded in a calendar year. Abbotsford, like many communities in the province, is experiencing an increasing number of toxic drug poisonings and toxic drug deaths due to the illicit toxic drug supply.
For more information and resources related to overdose prevention and response, visit fraserhealth.ca/overdose.