Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Langley City Council provides suggested locations for Overdose Prevention Site

In BC, there is an ongoing overdose crisis due to the ever-increasing toxicity of illicit drugs. In February, Fraser Health staff told Langley City Council that 2020 saw the highest number of overdose deaths ever. While some people may associate overdoses with people experiencing homelessness, around 70% of overdose deaths occur in private residences, 16% in other indoor locations such as restaurants, and 13% outside.

The overdose crisis is primarily impacting employed, single young men. The province recently launched Lifeguard App for smartphones to help reduce overdose deaths for people that use alone. Another way to help reduce overdose deaths is to building Overdose Prevention Sites.

These sites provide:

  • Distribution of supplies for safer injection
  • Education on safe injection technique and infection prevention
  • Overdose prevention and intervention
  • Medical and counselling services
  • Referrals to substance use treatment
  • Connection to housing and other support services
  • Drug-checking

Fraser Health is looking to partner with a service provider to create an Overdose Prevention Site in Langley.

Langley City is a compact community. You can walk from one end of Fraser Highway to the other in about 30 minutes. There is a high concentration of social and health services within our downtown. While access to social and health services is critical, concentrating services in one area leads to ghettoization. Services should be spread throughout a community to increase access and reduce stigmatization.

Given Langley City’s small size, this presents a difficult challenge. Langley City council selected the green area as a recommended area to place an Overdose Prevention Site in our community.

Area for potential Overdose Prevention Site in green. Select map to enlarge.

The Langley Bypass area and area bound by Fraser Highway, the Langley Bypass and 200th Street are the Council recommended locations. The triangle area is accessible by transit and walking, which is likely a critical requirement for an Overdose Prevention Site.

Council also asked Fraser Health to:

  • Go through a rezoning process for a proposed Overdose Prevention Site since no existing zones permit its use today.
  • Require all services be provided inside a Overdose Prevention Site
  • Require 24/7 security and site clean up around a Overdose Prevention Site
  • Develop a good neighbour committee

As this is a health emergency, Fraser Health can likely place an Overdose Prevention Site wherever they see fit. I do hope that they consider Council’s recommendations which will help uplift people and our neighbourhoods.

1 comment:

Jenn Calado said...

I think it is so important for there to be a safe injection site in our community, especially during the ongoing fentanyl crisis.