Island Health revisiting possible supervised injection site in Victoria
The health authority says new federal government appears to have a different approach
The Vancouver Island Health Authority says it's taking a fresh look at creating a supervised drug consumption site in Victoria.
The health authority has resisted opening a service where people could take street drugs under medical supervision because of federal restrictions.
"There are some signals that the government would have a different perspective on supervised consumption sites," said Dr. Richard Crow, a medical director with Island Health. "We are revisiting the opportunities and options."
- Fentanyl overdoses: Why a safe injection site is an election issue
- Insite supervised injection site receives Health Canada exemption
- Supervised injection site planned for Victoria — with or without feds' OK
Crow says Island Health will also have to look at its budget. He says unless the province provides extra funding, a supervised consumption site would come at the expense of other health services.
'I do a lot of praying'
Outreach groups and drug users in the capital have been demanding immediate action following eight suspected overdose deaths in recent weeks.
On Thursday, 150 people gathered in downtown Victoria to honour those who have died of overdoses and to demand a supervised site for drug users.
Kimmy Hughes was one of the people at the rally. She says she lives in fear of her addiction, but she hasn't been able to quit.
"I do a lot of praying and soul searching, and one day I might," she said. "For now, I'm just happy to be alive, and I want to keep my friends alive as well."
Hughes says she knew some of the eight people who recently died from a suspected overdose. She says it's important to remember that drug addicts are people too.
"Once upon a time they did have jobs and nice homes and stuff like that, and friends and family," she says.
Hughes says she supports the Yes2SCS group, which has been lobbying Island Health to fund a supervised consumption site in Victoria.
With files from Megan Thomas