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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews contain fire to attic of Central Saanich home

Firefighters are responding to a structure fire in Central Saanich

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Cowichan Valley family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

Most Read