Safe Spaces that Help Stop Overdoses

June 30, 2020. Article by: Government of B.C.

Right now, the street drug supply in B.C. is highly toxic and unpredictable. If you or someone you know uses drugs, it is now more important than ever to take steps to prevent and respond to overdose.

Avoid using drugs alone – using drugs by yourself can put you at a higher risk of experiencing a fatal overdose. To help prevent overdose when using drugs, visit an overdose prevention site or supervised consumption site in your area.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, some sites limited their hours, capacity or temporarily closed.

Many sites are now open throughout B.C. and services are available, with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Find a site in your area:

Search “overdose prevention site” or “supervised consumption site” on this map to find services throughout B.C.

These sites are helping people stay safer every day and are saving lives.

Guy Felicella, Peer Operations Coordinator, with Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction and the BC Centre on Substance Use, shares why these services are so important.

Overdose prevention sites and safe consumption sites provide connection, safety, and the freedom to actually use substances without judgement or discrimination. My recovery journey started with these services and I always felt comfortable using them. Human connection at these sites can shift the direction of peoples’ lives. You are welcome to be there. These services are not only life saving, but life changing.

Accessing services through an overdose prevention site or supervised consumption service could save your life or the life of someone you care about. To date, there has never been an overdose death at a site in B.C.

There are currently 32 supervised consumption and overdose prevention services in B.C. (11 supervised consumption and 21 overdose prevention). Locations providing observed consumption had more than 853,626 visits during 2019 with 4,792 overdoses survived and zero deaths. Overdose prevention sites are locations where people can use drugs under supervision by trained staff who can provide emergency response services if necessary.

Supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites may offer a range of free health services. All sites offer non-judgemental support by trained staff and most have drug checking services available across the province.

Other services may include:

  • Distribution of supplies for safer injection (for example, sterile needles)
  • Safe disposal options
  • Education on safe injection technique and infection prevention
  • Overdose prevention and intervention
  • Naloxone kits and training
  • Drug checking
  • Medical and counselling services
  • Referrals to substance use treatment
  • Connection to housing and other support services

If you are unable to access overdose prevention services and supervised consumption sites, get a free Naloxone kit and use with a buddy. Use the Lifeguard app if you are alone. Find more ways to stay safer.

If you suspect an overdose, call 9-1-1 right away.