The unsanctioned supervised injection site that popped up in the parking lot of Nanaimo City hall has now seen approximately 100 consumers since it opened nearly two weeks ago.
Gord Fuller, the Nanaimo City Councillor that spearheaded the project, says developments have been slow, but positive.
He says Island Health has now stepped up with supplies when they were short.
“We needed masks, we needed some more naloxone kits. We were gonna go over to Harris House which is a local needle exchange, but they weren’t open until 1 o’clock, and we contacted the health officer and he actually brought us down some stuff,” he says.
“With Island Health recognizing that there really are no safety risks with what we’re doing, the city has now backed off on getting us to move.”
Fuller says there have been no overdoses at the site so far.
“We’ve got a lot of great volunteers, some of them are registered nurses, LPN’s, outreach workers, just about everybody has naloxone training.”
The injection site has spurred controversy in the Island city, with Nanaimo’s City Manager closing city hall for a day over safety concerns.
It reopened with additional security the following day.
Fuller says they’re willing to keep the doors open until something more permanent is put into place.
“People keep talking to me and some people keep saying ‘well you’re enabling them’ and I keep saying well yes I am, I am enabling them to stay alive until they can make a better decision.”
The latest stats from the BC Coroners Service show there had been 25 overdose deaths in Nanaimo by the end of November; the highest per-capita rate in B.C.
Island Health says it’s working on an officially sanctioned overdose prevention site, but has not provided a timeline.