Recovery of discarded needles will be one focus of a new harm reduction strategy being pursued by Fraser Health.

Needle collection, peer outreach focus of new Fraser harm reduction plan

Little sign of progress yet by health authority on development of supervised drug use sites

A new regional harm reduction strategy being developed by Fraser Health will focus on collection of used needles, provision of clean needles and smoking supplies, and outreach by recovered addicts to active drug users.

The health authority has struck an agreement with RainCity Housing and Support Society to help develop the expanded services, which exist in some but not all parts of the region.

Medical health officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler said it’s hoped peer outreach led by RainCity will help educate users on safe use and discard of needles, and better persuade them to reach out for addiction treatment and other health services when they are receptive.

Those former addicts would also be on the front line of providing users with clean supplies, containers to safely store discarded needles instead of dropping the in public, and helping alert users when a spike in dangerous overdoses happens.

“We want to ensure we create access across the whole region and there are no areas being unintentionally missed in terms of adequate harm reduction access,” she said, but added the rollout will consider community-specific factors.

Tyler said it’s too early to say which new communities could get additional harm reduction services, or what they might be.

The agreement doesn’t involve the most controversial side of harm reduction – supervised drug consumption sites that advocates say have been effective in preventing overdose deaths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Fraser Health earlier this summer committed to pursuing supervised use sites in multiple communities as part of its broader strategy to combat overdose deaths.

Asked if Fraser has yet reached agreement with any local municipalities on priority sites for supervised use, Tyler said those conversations are ongoing.

“It’s a service that we would like to be able to provide to those who need it across the region,” she said.

“We continue to work with our various partners in communities across Fraser to identify where these services would be the most appropriate and have the greatest impact.”

The federal Liberal government has so far given no signal it will relax the Safer Communities Act passed by the previous Conservative government that requires local support and clearance of a series of other hurdles in order to open any new safe injection site.

The drug overdose crisis in B.C. had claimed 488 lives this year as of the end of August, with 172 of those deaths in the Fraser region.

Just Posted

Seven years after daughter’s death, grieving mother issues new appeal for answers

Ashley Chauvin’s body was found near South Surrey’s Nicomekl River in July 2012

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Police food drive to help feed North Delta kids

Donations collected will go support the Rotary Club’s Starfish Pack program

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

‘Inventive ideas’ sought soon for Surrey One Act Festival, set to return to Whalley stage

Also planned by Royal Canadian Theatre Company is a Five Minute Play Writing Challenge

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

5 to start your day

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver released, woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR and more

One million recyclable bottles ‘lost’ daily in B.C., foundation says

387 million beverage containers didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Most Read

l -->