We have submitted the remaining components of our application for supervised consumption services in Surrey to Health Canada this week.
In December, we identified two proposed sites for supervised consumption services in Surrey, which will be integrated into existing health services at Quibble Creek Sobering and Assessment Centre on 94A Street and on 135A Street in partnership with Lookout Emergency Aid Society.
Surrey has the highest rate of death due to overdose in Fraser Health, and supervised consumption services are an evidence-based response that has proven to save lives. Since December, our team has made great progress in consulting with our key stakeholders and the community surrounding these sites as part of the formal application process. This consultation process has included one-on-one meetings with five key stakeholders, two public information sessions, the creation of a website providing information about supervised consumption services and an opportunity to provide feedback via a survey, a newsletter to Fraser Health staff, and interviews with people who use drugs. Consultation continues and as we have ongoing communication with our key stakeholders to ensure they are aware of our progress and that any concerns are addressed.
In the interim, we have embedded overdose prevention services in Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford to reverse overdoses in locations, like shelters, where people who use drugs already frequent. In addition to reversing overdoses, staff provide harm reduction supplies and connect people to treatment and other services. Since our overdose prevention services were implemented and our opioid agonist treatment services expanded, we have seen a substantial number of people decide to begin treatment. Now that the final portions of our application for supervised consumption services in Surrey have been submitted, we expect to have ongoing dialogue with Health Canada over the coming weeks as they review our application, providing information as requested.
There are no easy solutions to the opioid overdose emergency, and the loss of life is tragic. At Fraser Health, we are committed to working with our partners to implement an evidence-based response. Implementing supervised consumption services as quickly as possible is an important component of this response.