British Columbia

Fraser Health gets Health Canada approval to supervise oral and intra-nasal drug use

Health Canada approves Fraser Health to provide supervised consumption of oral and intra-nasal substances in addition to injections at two facilities in Surrey.

Surrey supervised consumption sites no longer restricted to injections

Kitchener and south Cambridge have been identified as possible locations for supervised injection sites, mainly because there were more incidents of opioid related overdose in those areas of Waterloo region. (Fraser Health)

Fraser Health's two supervised consumption facilities, in Surrey, B.C., will no longer be restricted to injections. 

Health Canada has approved the ability of site staff to also monitor oral and intra-nasal drug use. 

"In simple language, it's either people who are taking pills or snorting their substances," said Fraser Health chief medical health officer Dr. Victoria Lee. 

It's the first time Health Canada has granted such an exemption.

"Because people use multiple modes of administration, it's important that we are comprehensive and are able to increase our scope of supervision of consumption," said Lee. 

A high number of overdose deaths, according to Lee, are due to drug use by methods other than injection. 

"About 33 per cent of overdose deaths have been due to substances that were used orally and about 23 per cent from substances that were used intra-nasally," she said. 

"And, that's in comparison to about 35 per cent that's injected." 

SafePoint, on 135A Street, opened on June 8. 

Since then, it has seen 1,079 visits by 203 people. 

During that time, staff have reversed 19 overdoses and there have been no deaths. 

The Quibble Creek Sobering and Assessment Centre on 94A Avenue began to provide supervised consumption services exclusively to its clients on June 20. 

"The ability to supervise the consumption of substances, whether by injection, oral or intra-nasal methods, means more overdoses will be reversed and more lives will be saved," said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall in a news release from Fraser Health. 

"In addition, staff at both sites will have greater opportunities to engage with people and connect them to treatment services when they are willing to access them." 

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