News / Vancouver

Surrey launches opioid data project in partnership with Statistics Canada

The city will collect data on high-risk drug users, including those who use at home

Hygienic booths and syringe-disposal bins fill one room at SafePoint in Surrey, B.C., the first supervised injection site to open since the province declared a public health emergency more than a year ago over rising overdose deaths from opioids — powerful synthetic painkillers, such as fentanyl. The clinic was opened by Fraser Health and Lookout Emergency Shelter on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the first in Surrey.

David P. Ball / Metro Order this photo

Hygienic booths and syringe-disposal bins fill one room at SafePoint in Surrey, B.C., the first supervised injection site to open since the province declared a public health emergency more than a year ago over rising overdose deaths from opioids — powerful synthetic painkillers, such as fentanyl. The clinic was opened by Fraser Health and Lookout Emergency Shelter on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the first in Surrey.

Surrey authorities are partnering with Statistics Canda to collect data on people who are most at risk of an opioid overdose, especially those who use illicit drugs at home.

The goal is to identify key risk factors of overdosing use those to help healthcare create more effective intervention programs. There are currently two supervised consumption sites in Surrey, where staff and volunteers are on hand to help anyone who overdoses.

But people who use opioids in their own homes are among those most at risk of overdose, according to a City of Surrey press release.

"This partnership will shape policy that will lead to better informed decisions on how to curb the overdoses and deaths for those who are using in private. With the data that will be collected by this multiagency project, we will be able to create more precise interventions to help a population that has been widely impacted by the opioid scourge but little is known about," said Mayor Linda Hepner.

Fraser Health Authority says it welcomes the initiative.

“We know there are many contributing factors that lead an individual to use substances – childhood experiences, education and employment opportunities are but a few examples. The more information we have, the better armed we are to develop and implement preventative strategies and services to help this very vulnerable population," said medical health officer Dr. Shovita Padhi, in a emailed statement.

The partnership, called the Opioid Data Collection and Community Response Project, involves the City of Surrey, Statistics Canada, Surrey Fire Services, the Surrey RCMP, Fraser Health, and the BC Coroners Service.

More on Metronews.ca