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.

Just Posted

No nuts were grown in Almond Gardens

Place Names: Grand Forks neighbourhoods, Part 2

Blooming judges coming to Trail

Trail is participating in the CiB Class of Champions next week

Montrose seeks funding for age-friendly project

Council has committed $120,000 for renovations to facility

Rossland Legion supports youth activities

Legion members donate to Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program

Trail Sk8 Park Celebration

The all-wheel park is in a scenic location near the Gyro Park boat launch

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read