Three weeks after it opened, the only sanctioned pop-up injection site on Vancouver Island is seeing a steady increase in use.
Don Evans with Our Place, the social service provider that manages the injection site, says what started with 30 people per day coming to use drugs safely has grown to 45 to 50 people daily.
“I see more line ups for people waiting to get in there. One of the modifications we are looking at is seeing if we can put three stations in there instead of two, but the demand is certainly increasing as people get more comfortable with it.”
He says this allows workers to offer assistance to people who previously would only use drugs in hiding.
“It’s changed the relationship between the outreach workers and the individuals coming in so they are able to deal with a lot of their other needs and help them.”
Evans says even though they are working directly with the health authority, there is still a lag time between someone asking for treatment and getting them into treatment.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority submitted an application to Ottawa last week to have a permanent safe-injection site, like Insite, in Victoria.
The latest numbers on opioid overdose deaths in B.C. are expected next week.
At last count at the end of November, 755 people had died of overdoses last year.