British Columbia

Fentanyl crisis: VCH medical officer calls for more supervised injection services

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn says that to deal with the growing crisis of fentanyl-related overdose deaths, more supervised injection services are needed.

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn also wants Health Canada to make it easier to get Naloxone

Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn calling for more supervised injection services in Vancouver to deal with increasing fentanyl-related overdose deaths. (CBC)

The growing number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths has Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn calling for more supervised injection services.

At a forum Wednesday night at Lions Gate Hospital, Lysyshyn and other VCH officials gave the public an update on the problem — and what they see as solutions.

"This problem is still happening, it's getting worse, and we're going to have to look at getting some more innovative solutions," Lysyshyn told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot.

Vancouver is now home to two supervised injection sites, Insite and the Dr. Peter Centre.

Lysyshyn says more of these might be part of the solution to the fentanyl epidemic, and he wants to see supervised injection services available at community sites and acute care facilities.

"No one has ever died of an illicit drug overdose at Insite because they're able to rescue people with Naloxone and other medical treatment," he said. "We know that supervised injection services and supervised injection sites prevent overdose deaths."

Lysyshyn also says better access to Naloxone could help with the overdose crisis. Part of the issue is the life-saving drug requires a prescription, and that prevents it from getting into more hands.

"We are very hopeful that Health Canada will change the prescription-only status of Naloxone so that anybody, really, can get access," he said. "In other countries, you don't require a prescription to get Naloxone."

To hear the full story, click on the audio labelled: VCH medical officer calls for more supervised injection services to stop fentanyl overdoses


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