News Local

Four new supervised injection sites planned

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A worker at the InSite supervised injection centre. 

A worker at the InSite supervised injection centre. GETTY IMAGES

Vancouver Coastal Health has identified two locations where it intends to place future supervised injection sites, with an additional two unnamed locations planned, chief medical health officer Patricia Daly said on Wednesday.

“The applications for the first two sites are going to go in within a month,” Daly told Vancouver city council.

The proposed locations are the new Mental Health and Substance Use drop-in centre that will open at 528 Powell St., to be operated by the Lookout Emergency Aid Society, and at the Heatley Community Health Centre, at 330 Heatley Ave., operated by VCH.

“There are a number of other locations both in and outside the Downtown Eastside where we intend to submit those applications.”

Anna Marie D’Angelo, spokeswoman at VCH, said invitations for consultation were sent out late last week to stakeholders for the two proposed locations, with a consultation period in October.

“We’re applying to Health Canada at those two sites to get exemptions from federal drug prosecutions,” she said.

“Applications can take months and months to put forward, this is early stage.”

The two locations will not be injection sites that are open to the public like the existing InSite location on Hastings Street, D’Angelo said. Instead, they’ll focus on clients already using services at the two centres.

“A large group of the clients there are intravenous drug users, long-term intravenous drug users, we do provide primary care for them — basic doctor visits — and other harm reduction, such as needle exchange,” she said.

“We’re looking at at least two more ... when InSite opens in the morning there’s a lineup outside. We’re not meeting the needs of the client group, especially with the fentanyl crisis.”