News / Vancouver

Supervised consumption site to open in Victoria as opioid epidemic continues

VICTORIA — Health Canada has approved a supervised consumption site in Victoria to allow people to inject illicit drugs in the presence of medical staff.

The department has granted the Vancouver Island Health Authority an exemption from Canada's drug laws in an effort to reduce overdose deaths that have claimed lives across British Columbia.

The health authority says Victoria has B.C.'s third-highest rate of overdose deaths and that drug users at the new facility will have access to counselling, the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and staff who can connect them to treatment options.

Judy Darcy, who is B.C.'s new minister of mental health and addictions, says Victoria's supervised consumption site is part of a broader strategy of offering people a safe place to use drugs.

The supervised consumption site will be named the Pandora Community Health and Wellness Centre and will replace a nearby temporary overdose prevention site that opened last December.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says 1,700 people have fatally overdosed in B.C. since 2016.

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