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

West Shore sees drop in traffic violations

The 315 violations in first six months of the year represent a 42 per cent decrease from 2018

Cloudy with a chance of showers ahead for Thursday

Plus a look ahead at the weekend’s forecast

Greater Victoria sees lowest rainfall numbers for November in decades

Only a third of the expected rainfall was seen across the Capital Region

Esquimalt Celebration of Lights ‘switches on’ Christmas for 14th year

Free community events draws hundreds for parade, entertainment and visits with Santa

Study on Malahat road closures expected by end of year

‘Vancouver Island traffic is like an hourglass,’ says vice-chair of CRD Traffic Safety Commission

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Opening day delayed at Mount Washington

Dec. 6 was set as opening day but will now be delayed due to lack of snow.

Province begins forfeiture of Shawnigan contaminated soil site

The forfeiture proceedings do not impact the closure plan for the landfill site

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

Bag of cocaine left in Vancouver Island grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

RCMP officer was justified using hose in rooftop standoff: B.C. watchdog

Police watchdog finds officers actions reasonable when man injured in 2018 incident

Most Read