Overdose prevetion and safe injection sites in B.C. are taking extra precautions like using enhanced cleaning measures and mobile sites to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and ensure people are safe. (Black Press Media file photo)

Overdose prevention, safe injection sites take extra precautions to mitigate COVID-19

Enhanced cleaning protocol, changes in service delivery at sites

Extra precautions are being taken by overdose prevention and supervised consumption service providers in B.C., as required by the provincial health officer, to ensure the impacts of COVID-19 are mitigated.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, these extra precautions include enhanced cleaning procedures and, in some cases, making changes in service delivery to accommodate the need for social distancing.

Some overdose prevention service providers have moved to a mobile model in order to meet clients where they are and ensure they have the harm reduction and sanitation supplies they need.

“As this situation is changing so rapidly, people are advised to contact their local overdose prevention services site to find out the latest information regarding any changes in service,” the statement says.

The ministry is encouraging B.C. residents to do what they can to stay connected to others while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) says creative solutions are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who use drugs, have underlying health conditions, or may be elderly. The novel coronavirus can cause a respiratory infection and other health problems, and fentanyl and other opioids can slow a person’s breathing rate. COVID-19 may increase the risk of overdose death when using opioids.

To practice safer drug use during this time, the BCCDC recommends people do not share items such as cigarettes, joints, pipes, injecting equipment, containers for alcohol, utensils and other supplies. If sharing is necessary, the centre advises wiping pipes with alcohol wipes or using new mouthpieces.

Reducing close contact and the use of condoms should be ensured, and hands should be washed before preparing, handling or using drugs. Surfaces should also be cleaned before preparing drugs, if possible.

Naloxone, as well as an overdose plan, should be carried and the centre asks that people use breathing masks – available in the take-home naloxone kits – if responding to an overdose.

While drug users are advised to buddy up, the BCCDC recommends staying two metres apart to avoid passing the virus. Checking in on buddies regularly is important, as well as finding someone who can bring food, harm reduction supplies, medicine and substances to stay well.

Drug users have a potential of going through involuntary withdrawal if their dealer gets sick, the BCCDC says, so having backup plans and being cautious if using a new supply is recommended.

The BCCDC does not anticipate supply chain disruptions and advises registered safe consumption sites to continue to order supplies as needed weekly or monthly to avoid stockpiling.

“Please continue to distribute supplies as usual, and note that if there is a specific request for supplies for an individual who requires quarantine or isolation, additional supplies may be provided for the 14-day period,” the BCCDC says.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read