BC Overdose Prevention Services Guide 2019

BC Overdose Prevention Services Guide 2019

Cheryl Prescott, Meaghan Thumath, Monica Durigon, Marcus Lem, Jane Buxton, Mark Tyndall (2019)

BC Overdose Prevention Services Guide 2019

English
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This guideline is intended for service providers and Public Health practitioners offering overdose prevention services (OPS) in the community. OPS were initiated by the BC Minister of Health in Dec. 2016 due to increasing mortality from illicit drug overdoses. While this document provides guidance for the majority of circumstances service providers and practitioners may encounter, knowledge and practice are always evolving and you are encouraged to connect regularly with your local Harm Reduction Program leads and Medical Health Officers. Although there may be overlap between OPS and Supervised Injection/Consumption Services (SIS/SCS), a separate provincial guideline has been produced and should be referred to by SIS/SCS sites approved by Health Canada.
The guidance in this document primarily concerns and references injection drug use, however the authors recognize that clients may prefer to use drugs in other ways. Consequently, the guideline may also be applied to clients who ingest their drugs orally (i.e. swallow) or nasally (i.e. snort).
The guideline does not cover opioid smoking. Although law enforcement follows trends in the chemical composition of illicit drugs and their cutting agents, very little is known about what chemical by-products are produced when these drugs are burned, or their effects on health. Also, unlike injecting, swallowing or snorting, smoking illicit drugs will release these unknown chemicals into the air. In non-emergency situations where clients are smoking drugs inside, it is recommended to do so with open windows and staff to allow the room to clear of smoke before entering.
OPS provide designated spaces for the purpose of monitoring people who use drugs for signs of an overdose. This permits rapid intervention if an overdose occurs to prevent brain injury and death. For an overview of OPS protocols and service recommendations, see Appendix A: Overdose Prevention & Response Protocol Recommendations for Service Providers (Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health, 2016). For guidelines and resources for OPS within supportive housing and homeless shelters, see Appendix B: Guidelines and Resources for Supportive Housing Providers, Homeless Shelter Providers and Regional Health Authorities on Overdose Prevention and Response.
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