Supplies like clean needles are available at the Overdose Prevention Society’s safe-injection site. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post John Lehmann

Overdose prevention sites, naloxone kits save thousands of lives in B.C.: study

The study estimates B.C. overdose rates would be 2.5 times higher

A new report by the BC Centre for Disease Control indicates that expansive harm reduction services across the province have prevented thousands of overdose deaths.

READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

The study, which was conducted over a 20-month period, estimates that the B.C. overdose death toll would be 2.5 times higher than it currently is, if not for accessible harm reduction treatment strategies.

On average, roughly three people in B.C. die each day from opioids.

“This study speaks to the importance and the effectiveness of harm reduction and treatment efforts and the fact that they save lives,” said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions in a news release in June.

She added that these services “are essential to turning the tide on the overdose crisis.”

The study took place between April 2016 and December 2017. During that time period, there were 2,177 deaths in B.C.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram

Through the works of the Take Home Naloxone program, overdose prevention services and harm reduction sites, the study confirms that approximately 3,030 lives were saved.

Conversely, this means that out of a possible 5,207 deaths, 58 per cent were avoided.

The Take Home Naloxone program is growing throughout B.C., and has been since late 2017 when the province first rolled out free naloxone kits.

READ MORE: From a mother’s loss to a community’s education on opioids

This is representative of the Naloxone kit exponential growth in the previous years.

From 2012 to 2017, over 94 per cent of dispersed kits were handed out between 2016 and 2017. Since 2012, more than 17,000 overdoses have been reversed.

The province is currently piloting the effectiveness of take-home drug testing kits in selected cities, to help curb the 80 per cent of overdoses that occur indoors, often when drugs users are alone.

READ MORE: Feds give $15 million for 15 projects to combat B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers will compare the impact of the take-home tests versus drug checking services already offered at Vancouver-based sites, including how many strips come back positive for fentanyl.


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDKB urges caution when reading into snowpack reports

Staff say it’s too early in the season to have a strong handle on water flow projections

Treading snowy trails across the Boundary

Before the rain came this week, trails in the Boundary were well-travelled

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Grand Forks community centre open house set for Jan. 23 at the aquatic centre

Designers and the development committee will be at the aquatic centre from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Interior Health issues drug alert in Kamloops

Testing of two samples of drugs sold as crystal meth was positive for fentanyl

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read