We are working with the City of Victoria, Victoria Police and other stakeholders to develop an application to Health Canada to establish a supervised consumption service in Victoria.
Update January 3, 2017
Island Health has submitted the first of three planned applications for supervised consumption service locations in Victoria.
Provide Feedback on Proposed Supervised Consumption Services
Update December 5, 2016
Thank you to everyone who participated in the public feedback process for supervised consumption services between November 15 and December 2. Feedback received between these dates will be incorporated into the application to Health Canada.
Island Health will take a few weeks to collate and analyze the information received and will then report on the feedback. There are still other ways to contact us in order to share comments or ask questions via the feedback webpage.
What is a Supervised Consumption Service?
Supervised consumption services (also known as supervised injection services or SCS) are health services where individuals can attend to inject or consume illicit drugs in a hygienic environment under the supervision of trained staff, and have opportunities to engage in other health and social services. Individuals bring drugs they have obtained elsewhere with them to the SCS.
The goals of providing supervised consumption services are to:
- Reduce the number of overdose deaths
- Connect people who use illicit drugs with healthcare services, including treatment
- Reduce public drug use and discarded needles
Goal 1: Reduce overdose deaths
Supervised consumption services can help reduce overdose deaths by providing a safer space for people to inject/consume drugs under the supervision of a trained professional. SCS staff would be available to intervene in any medical emergencies, including overdoses.
Goal 2: Improve access to health-care and treatment services
SCS have been shown to connect people to other health services, including withdrawal management (detox), treatment and other social and health services.
We are considering a number of smaller, supervised consumption service locations in Victoria. The service will be embedded in locations that already provide, or will offer, health and harm reduction services to people who use illicit drugs. Oversight supports might also be offered in housing facilities where there are a high proportion of residents who use illicit drugs. This oversight would only be available to residents; there would be no public/non-resident access.
Our distributed model means supervised consumption services will be available in locations that illicit drug users need it most. By offering SCS in several locations, we expect to improve access to services and reduce community impact.
Goal 3: Reduce public drug use and discarded needles
Island Health data shows that many people overdose in the community in public spaces or locations other than a private residence (such as a shelter, hotel). Research shows that SCS reduces the amount of publically discarded needles and the incidence of public drug use.