Our Place has been operating a “pop-up” supervised injection site for about a year. Island Health will open the Island’s first official supervised consumption service next door at 914 Pandora St. in late spring 2018. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Island Health sends out call to staff supervised consumption service in Victoria

Request for proposals open until January, site to open in late spring 2018

Island Health has issued two requests for proposals in an effort to make sure the Island’s first approved supervised consumption service – a safe injection site for drug users – is properly staffed when it opens at 941 Pandora St. next spring.

The health authority is reaching out to community service providers such as AIDS Vancouver Island, Cool Aid, Our Place Society and the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) to ensure those hired are well-versed in harm reduction.

“We will be looking for people with lived experience, that will very much be critical,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical officer for Island Health. “Individuals who understand they will be there during the injection and during the chill out.”

The 10-booth site will also staff a registered nurse for primary care, a social program officer to provide counselling treatment and a clinician to manage the consumption room and overdose responses. But Stanwick doesn’t want the facility to be thought of as an institution like a hospital.

“We want those with experience and empathy to bring a greater degree of professionalism to provide the kind of oversight needed for things like naloxone training,” he said.

Many staff from organizations like Our Place and PHS are already working in overdose prevention sites, Stanwick added. Of the 18 safe injection sites the province currently operates, nine are located on the Island.

Our Place has been operating a “pop-up” overdose prevention site since December 2016. Director of communications Grant McKenzie said there have been no deaths recorded since, despite close to 100 people using the service on a daily basis.

Insite was the first legal supervised drug injection site in North America when it opened in Vancouver’s downtown eastside in 2003.

“Vancouver has certainly provided us with the scientific foundation to formulate our thinking in terms of moving forward,” Stanwick said. “Nanaimo is probably another success and I think the testimony to all the groups operating these services is that we have not had a single death.”

When Island Health opens its supervised consumption service in late spring 2018, the operation will run seven days a week, 12 hours a day. The request for proposals deadline is Jan. 19, 2018 and can be found online at BCbid.gov.bc.ca.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing what comes in by January,” Stanwick said.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Homeless Action Week: Our Place Society asking for blankets, sleeping bags

The fundraiser is off to a slow start as the days get colder

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Surge in requests for help, reports of sexual assault since #MeToo

Growing demand for Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic’s services in first year of #MeToo

Victoria among Top 10 sunniest Canadian cities

Victoria ranks 6th in sunny days per year

Victoria teen suffers whiplash in school ‘bubble’ soccer game

Middle school students injured in teacher-student competition

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

ELECTION 2018: Vancouver Island politician ending unprecedented 40-year run

Mike Kokura served on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board since 1972

Most Read