Vancouver’s first overdose prevention site (OPS) outside the city’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood is now open.
Located at St Paul’s Hospital, under a bright blue tent, off the Thurlow Street entrance, the new OPS has four booths for people. It offers clean needles and other equipment, along with drug testing and naloxone to substance users, as well as connections to community supports.
It opens at 11 am seven days a week and the last visit is at 10:30 pm.
“The tent offers people who use substances in this area a supportive and judgment-free place to use, whether they’re St. Paul’s patients and visitors or residents of the West End,” said Scott Harrison, Director of Urban Health, Indigenous Health, Substance Use, Maternity and NICU at Providence Health Care (PHC).
Harrison said substance users recognize St. Paul’s Hospital as a safe place to be after an overdose, and the OPS will “address the high number of people who die alone because they’re afraid of stigma around drug use.”
PHC said the tent aligns with its commitment to harm reduction and emphasis on compassionate, non-judgmental care for all, particularly the most vulnerable.
The OPS is funded by Vancouver Coastal Health and managed by RainCity Housing, which is providing it with a peer support worker and a staffer.