Despite the ongoing overdose crisis in B.C., The Vancouver Island Health Authority is holding back two additional federal applications for supervised-injection sites.
Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, says they’ve made this choice hoping the Trudeau government will re-think their approach to approval.
“After considering the issue and certainly seeing the 914 overdose deaths in B.C. last year [they] might be more open to a more streamlined application process.”
Island Health submitted its first supervised injection-site application earlier this month, while Vancouver Coastal Health is waiting to hear from Ottawa on two applications made last October.
Stanwick says he’s hopeful if they operate successfully, Ottawa might be more forthcoming on new facilities.
“Maybe after you get the first one in, and show that you can meet the higher bar that there’s some confidence of basically being able to provide these services.”
Island Health is currently operating four “overdose prevention sites,” three in Victoria, and one in Nanaimo.
They differ from federally sanctioned supervised injection sites in that they do not supply equipment, or have a medical staffer supervise injections.
The province, which tacitly admits the sites skirt federal regulations, began opening such facilities in early December because of delays in getting licensed supervised injection open.
The province declared the number of fatal overdoses in B.C. a health emergency in April.