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

Chilliwack student turns school work into business

Dylan Murdy has turned his grade 12 entrepreneurship project into an actual business

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Police seeking public assistance in locating Popkum man

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing… Continue reading

Home sales finally cooling in Chilliwack

But locally softening in market compares to big drops to the west

VIDEO: Agassiz Community Gardens turns 15

Growing is good for personal and community health

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

Chilliwack city councillor’s expenses the subject of FOI request by mayor

Discussion about council expenses leads to broader call for more transparency and accountability

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck and killed by train in downtown Abbotsford

Person hit at West Railway and Gladys Avenue late Tuesday night

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Most Read