On June 8, we acknowledged the one-year anniversary of Fraser Health’s SafePoint in Surrey – the first supervised consumption site in North America to be located outside downtown Vancouver.
On June 8, we acknowledged the one-year anniversary of Fraser Health’s SafePoint in Surrey – the first supervised consumption site in North America to be located outside downtown Vancouver. Since opening, SafePoint has seen 1,561 people use the site 61,572 times and staff have successfully reversed more than 620 overdoses, resulting in no deaths.
Just one example of the success of SafePoint lies in Curtis Carter, who accessed the service 182 times in five months and overdosed 24 times. Through his repeated interactions, he accessed treatment and is now working as a peer support worker at SafePoint four nights a week.
“They saved my life so many times. I wanted to thank them and let them know they didn’t waste their time,” he says.
On average, SafePoint sees 200 visits per day. In addition to providing a space where people can inject or consume substances under supervision by oral or intra-nasal means, Fraser Health has connected nearly 1,400 people in Surrey to first-line treatment for opioid addiction using medications such as Suboxone and methadone since January 2017. SafePoint staff have provided health education as well as referrals to first-line treatment and other health and social services to approximately 25 per cent of the clients who access the service. Fraser Health operates SafePoint in partnership with the Lookout Housing and Health Society.
Every time a person visits SafePoint, it provides us with a valuable opportunity to connect with them. Over the past year we have taken tremendous strides forward in better engaging with this vulnerable population. Though the overdose crisis across B.C. continues, many lives in Surrey have undoubtedly been saved because SafePoint staff have been there to reverse overdoses when they occur.
The implementation of supervised consumption services in Surrey is part of Fraser Health’s multi-faceted strategy to address the overdose emergency in the region, which includes prevention, early intervention, harm reduction and treatment.
Most recently, we completed a web survey to provide people who use substances at home with an opportunity to share how they engage with existing health services in their community, shedding light on how we can offer support and connect them to services they need. The survey is our latest effort to better understand the characteristics of people who are consuming substances at home alone. Many people who use substances alone often do so because of the stigma associated with substance use, making it challenging to engage with people in this demographic. We will use the data collected to refine existing services and develop new approaches to engage with this group of people.
Read the full news release.