Overdose prevetion and safe injection sites in B.C. are taking extra precautions like using enhanced cleaning measures and mobile sites to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and ensure people are safe. (Black Press Media file photo)

Overdose prevention, safe injection sites take extra precautions to mitigate COVID-19

Enhanced cleaning protocol, changes in service delivery at sites

Extra precautions are being taken by overdose prevention and supervised consumption service providers in B.C., as required by the provincial health officer, to ensure the impacts of COVID-19 are mitigated.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, these extra precautions include enhanced cleaning procedures and, in some cases, making changes in service delivery to accommodate the need for social distancing.

Some overdose prevention service providers have moved to a mobile model in order to meet clients where they are and ensure they have the harm reduction and sanitation supplies they need.

“As this situation is changing so rapidly, people are advised to contact their local overdose prevention services site to find out the latest information regarding any changes in service,” the statement says.

The ministry is encouraging B.C. residents to do what they can to stay connected to others while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) says creative solutions are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who use drugs, have underlying health conditions, or may be elderly. The novel coronavirus can cause a respiratory infection and other health problems, and fentanyl and other opioids can slow a person’s breathing rate. COVID-19 may increase the risk of overdose death when using opioids.

To practice safer drug use during this time, the BCCDC recommends people do not share items such as cigarettes, joints, pipes, injecting equipment, containers for alcohol, utensils and other supplies. If sharing is necessary, the centre advises wiping pipes with alcohol wipes or using new mouthpieces.

Reducing close contact and the use of condoms should be ensured, and hands should be washed before preparing, handling or using drugs. Surfaces should also be cleaned before preparing drugs, if possible.

Naloxone, as well as an overdose plan, should be carried and the centre asks that people use breathing masks – available in the take-home naloxone kits – if responding to an overdose.

While drug users are advised to buddy up, the BCCDC recommends staying two metres apart to avoid passing the virus. Checking in on buddies regularly is important, as well as finding someone who can bring food, harm reduction supplies, medicine and substances to stay well.

Drug users have a potential of going through involuntary withdrawal if their dealer gets sick, the BCCDC says, so having backup plans and being cautious if using a new supply is recommended.

The BCCDC does not anticipate supply chain disruptions and advises registered safe consumption sites to continue to order supplies as needed weekly or monthly to avoid stockpiling.

“Please continue to distribute supplies as usual, and note that if there is a specific request for supplies for an individual who requires quarantine or isolation, additional supplies may be provided for the 14-day period,” the BCCDC says.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clearwater Famers Market looking for help

“The Farmers Market and the North Thompson (Valley) need more local food.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Rainer Meat Cutting continues family tradition

Finding a new role in the days of COVID-19

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Most Read