Overdose Prevention

A significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths across B.C. prompted Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall to declare a public health emergency April 2016. 

Individuals who are going to use illicit drugs are urged to avoid using alone, and make sure someone is around who is willing and able to seek help if an overdose happens. This applies to all methods of drug consumption – injection, inhalation, snorting, smoking or consuming with alcohol.

The following strategies can reduce the risk:

  • Avoid using alone; fix with a friend
  • Try a small amount of new drugs first
  • Stagger use with friends so someone can respond if needed
  • Avoid using more than one drug at a time (stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses)
  • Carry and use naloxone and have an overdose response plan
  • Be close to help
  • Use an Overdose Prevention Service

Overdose Prevention Services 

Overdose Prevention Services are locations where people can use illegal drugs under supervision by trained staff. As part of healthcare services, staff in these locations monitor people who are at risk of overdose and provide rapid intervention if necessary.  Overdose Prevention Services are allowed under special Ministerial Order (Ministerial Order M488) under the Emergency Services Act. The following Overdose Prevention Services are available on Vancouver Island and more will be added in coming weeks:

  • Victoria: 919 Pandora Street (Our Place)
  • Victoria: 844 Johnson Street (Johnson Street Community). Note: Open to building residents only
  • Victoria: 713 Johnson Street (AIDS Vancouver Island). Background information
  • Victoria: 535 Ellice Street (Rock Bay Landing). Background information
  • Nanaimo: 437 Wesley Street (Canadian Mental Health Association). Background information
  • Courtenay: 355 - 6th Street (AIDS Vancouver Island). Background information

If someone overdoses:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Provide rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth)
  • Administer naloxone