A rash of eight overdose deaths in Greater Victoria over the past week is prompting advocates to renew calls for a supervised safe injection site on the island.
University of Victoria professor and social worker Bruce Wallace says harm reduction saves lives.
“We need to be rethinking how we respond to illicit drug use in society and Victoria here locally, but overall we are really pushing people away and when people die, why are we questioning that at this point?”
Health officials in Vancouver and Victoria have been warning about fentanyl laced drugs.
The pain killer is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and can cause unsuspecting users to overdose.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s mayor supports the idea.
Lisa Helps says a plan has been in place for nearly a year for a safe consumption site.
“The city is not in a position to lead on this. It is a health issue. There are tragedies happening on our streets. And it is time for our local health authority in partnership with the city and others to step up if that’s what the public needs.”
However, the Medical Health Officer for Central Vancouver Island says the site would be one part of the solution.
“I would stress that it is only one of a multitude of services that are needed in order to reduce the tragic outcomes from substance use”, says Doctor Paul Hasselback.
He says Naloxone injections have saved several lives over the past few days.
The injection reverses the life-threatening effects of narcotics such as fentanyl and heroin.
-With files from Kyle Benning