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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read