Some of the harm reduction supplies, that OPS providers distribute consists of naloxone kits and pipes. (Photo/AVI health and community services)

Some of the harm reduction supplies, that OPS providers distribute consists of naloxone kits and pipes. (Photo/AVI health and community services)

Overdose prevention services not meeting needs of inhalant drug users: Campbell River advocate

Campbell River’s low OPS utilization numbers will continue unless inhalation services are provided said outgoing OPS provider

Limited services for people who use drugs by smoking them in Campbell River is a serious challenge that needs to be addressed immediately, according to the community’s outgoing provider of overdose prevention services (OPS).

“This is a serious concern, especially after COVID-19 interrupted the street supply stream of injectable drugs like heroin in Campbell River,” said Sarah Delaney-Spindler, manager for AIDS Vancouver Island’s (AVI) Campbell River office.

AIDS Vancouver Island’s contract with Island Health to provide overdose prevention services (OPS) runs out on June 1. The new contract has been awarded to Vancouver Island Mental Health Society.

The medical health officer from Island health, Dr Charmaine Enns told the Campbell River Mirror that they were concerned about the “low utilization of OPS” in Campbell River and that they wanted to expand the services to more substance users in Campbell River.

Dr. Enns also said that the OPS utilization number in Campbell River was one of the lowest on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Island Health announces new overdose prevention service provider in Campbell River

Responding to Dr. Enns’ concerns of ‘low utilization’ numbers in Campbell River, Delaney- Spindler said that unless the overdose prevention services are expanded to include the growing tide of inhalant users in Campbell River, it’s going to be difficult to increase the percentage of OPS utilization in Campbell River.

She said that people are moving to more readily available substances like methamphetamine and crack which are consumed via inhalation – smoking.

On May 11, Island Health issued a drug-overdose advisory for all of Vancouver Island after a spike in overdose deaths “from opioids and stimulants with an increased risk of smoking.”

READ MORE: Overdose advisory issued for all of Vancouver Island

Although the harm reduction services operated by AVI provide clean supplies to users who inhale these drugs, there is no way to support them in safe consumption. This option is currently available only for injectable drug users in the Campbell River OPS centre, where an overdose prevention room is available for safe usage and monitoring.

Inhalation services consist of a safe space or room with industrial venting or an outside tent where people can smoke substances and service providers can monitor them to avoid instances of overdose.

There is a strong number of inhalant users that are not catered to says Delaney-Spindler based on the data of harm reduction supplies that they distribute.

“The amount of pipes used for smoking crack and methamphetamine that we distribute are quite high,” said Delaney-Spindler.

Delaney-Spindler has said that many of the harm reduction clients that she has interacted with, and who are solely inhalant drug users, have voiced the disparity they feel when they see people who inject are better supported than them.

OPS providers across Vancouver Island who provide both inhalation and injection services see higher number of OPS utilization, said Delaney-Spindler.

Since AVI started out as the OPS provider in Campbell River in 2017, Delaney-Spindler has said that she has seen an increase in the number of overdose cases linked to inhalant drugs.

She also said that AVI had repeatedly communicated these concerns to Island Health, and they also requested funding to set up inhalation services at the OPS centre in Campbell River.

When asked about the lack of inhalant services in Campbell River, Island health spokesperson Dominic Abassi replied in an email statement, “Island Health contracts for overdose prevention services. Where a contracted service provider is able to offer witnessed inhalation based on local needs and demand, capacity and suitability of the site, and ability to mitigate impact for neighbours, we support them in doing so.”

Campbell Riveroverdose

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

Just Posted

Port Alberni city hall. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni adopts tax increase below 4% for 2021

Financial plan looks for balance between residents, industry

Police cordoned off the block of Fifth Avenue from Burde Street to Bute Street in front of the Phoenix House sobering centre in the early-morning hours of Sunday, April 4, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Port Alberni stabbing suspect arrested in Nanaimo

Man was also in possession of fentanyl: RCMP

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni postpones organics collection to September 2021

Collection carts will be stored at Port Alberni Port Authority terminal

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read