Substance Use Services
SOURCES to oversee new overdose prevention site in White Rock
Fraser Health has opened a new overdose prevention site (OPS) in White Rock, named Peace Point, that will help support people in South Surrey and White Rock who use substances and connect them with the health services they need. Sources Community Resources Society, which has delivered Substance Use Services in the community for decades, will oversee the OPS.
Overdose prevention sites aim to prevent drug overdoses and overdose deaths, and reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences associated with substance use.
“We are honoured to partner with Fraser Health to bring this needed resource as one part of a larger strategy to reduce substance related harms in White Rock and South Surrey. We are also grateful to Roxanne Charles and the Semiahmoo First Nation for helping us open this service on the ancestral lands of their people,” said George Passmore, Director of Personal & Family Counselling and Support at SOURCES.
“This overdose prevention site will support our community with cultural safety as a central principle. It is a place where our trained staff can form meaningful connections with people impacted by the increasingly toxic drug supply, and support pathways out of isolation. We are grateful to help protect people and the community from the devastating harms of this public health emergency, and support people in navigating our social and health care services in a way that works best for them.”
LOCATION AND HOURS
The Peace Point OPS is located at the Peace Arch Hospital’s White Rock/South Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Centre in the Russell Annex.
It is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hours may be adjusted in response to demand and other considerations. Witnessed consumption takes place only during these hours.
The Peace Point centre will serve anyone who wants to have their substance use witnessed, providing them with a safe and welcoming environment while mitigating the risks to them of ingesting contaminated or toxic drugs.
In addition, the facility will provide overdose prevention education, Take Home Naloxone training and distribution, onsite monitoring of people who are at risk of overdose, and rapid detection of and response to overdose where necessary. It will also provide harm reduction supply distribution and disposal options, and facilitate referrals to health services, including appropriate mental health and substance use services.
People under 19 years of age will receive extra support and additional assessment measures if they agree to receiving service.
“We will continue to advocate for ending the stigma around substance use to ensure people feel comfortable seeking the help they need, including through our overdose prevention sites,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO of Fraser Health. “Overdose touches everyone but the impacts are personal to those who are confronting substance use every day and to families, friends and loved ones who are left behind. The pandemic has exacerbated the opioid overdose crisis and we are seeing the highest-ever recorded number of deaths in our region. This overdose prevention site is an example of how we are enhancing our services.”
In October, the province set a grim record for monthly overdose deaths as 201 people (6.5 people/day) in British Columbia lost their lives to overdose. According to the BC Coroners Service, 1,782 lives have been lost to illicit drug overdoses this year (up to the end of October), making it by far the leading cause of death in the province.
71% of the people who died from overdose were between the ages of 30 and 59
79% were male
55% of overdose deaths happened at a private residence
The overdose crisis has killed more than 8,500 people since it was first declared a public health emergency in 2016. To date, there have been no overdose deaths at overdose prevention or supervised consumption sites in British Columbia. The new publicly accessible overdose prevention site is a first in White Rock and the sixth in Fraser Health, joining two sites in Abbotsford, two in Surrey and another in New Westminster.
“Almost everyone in our province knows someone whose life has been touched by the poisoned drug crisis,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This new overdose prevention site will save lives in South Surrey and White Rock and connect more people to the services and supports they need.”
Pictured below are SOURCES and Fraser Health team members at the opening of the Peace Point overdose prevention site on Tuesday, November 14, 2021. It was an emotional and moving event beginning with Roxanne Charles of Semiahmoo First Nation who was incredibly heartfelt; she performed a song and used cedar to cleanse the space, and spoke tearfully about what this service means to her and others. Erin Gibson, Manager of Harm Reduction for Fraser Health, spoke passionately about the meaning of providing space for safety and acceptance for this population. Melissa Thorson (not pictured) from White Rock Mental Health also spoke poignantly, speaking from the perspective of the other services that occupy that space. Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this OPS a reality.
(Left to right)
Front Row: Roxanne Charles (Semiahmoo First Nation), Roxanne Charles’ grandmother, Erin Gibson (Fraser Health)
Back Row: George Passmore (SOURCES), Sara Bishop (Mobile Response Team), Maya Gill (SOURCES), Leanne Utendale (SOURCES), Caesar Engracia (SOURCES), Tyler Weatherup (Fraser Health), Jennifer Conway Brown (Fraser Health), Christine Mackie (Fraser Health)