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Northern Health temporary site to ensure access to overdose prevention, harm reduction services in Dawson Creek

Northern Health
News Release

Northern Health is working to ensure ongoing access to life-saving overdose prevention (OPS) and harm reduction services in Dawson Creek, by establishing a temporary overdose prevention site on the grounds of Dawson Creek & District Hospital.

Following the recent closure of peer-led overdose prevention services in the community and faced with the need to relocate Northern Health OPS services from their current location, NH is temporarily establishing an overdose prevention site at 11100 13 St, in Dawson Creek. We will provide an update when we have a date for that location to be up and running, as well as what hours will be supported. A mobile OPS service is in place to address the current need until we establish the temporary site. The OPS will include an ATCO type building; an Inhalation Shed, supported with a washroom, power, and other necessary supports to provide temporary OPS services.

“Dawson Creek continues to experience the tragic and often deadly impacts of the toxic drug supply, along with other Northern BC communities,” said Northern health (NH) Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Jong Kim. “We need to ensure that residents and vulnerable populations in the community continue to have access to life-saving measures that are a key part of the response to the toxic drug crisis that has taken far too many lives.”

Between June 1, 2022, and June 25, 2023, there were more than 1100 visits to the Northern Health OPS, highlighting the importance of ensuring ongoing access to overdose prevention and harm reduction services in the community. Northern Health also recently issued a Toxic Drug Alert for Dawson Creek, in light of an increase in overdoses in the community and the toxicity of the illicit drug supply.

Northern Health recognizes the importance of ensuring services and their locations are beneficial to those they serve, that interested parties are well-informed about those services, and that any concerns are heard and addressed,” added Dr. Kim. “We are committed to engaging with the community, as we are to supporting the work of peer run organizations and community service providers which are an important compliment to health care services offered by Northern Health.

While the temporary location is in place, NH will be working with the community and partners in identifying a more permanent future location for OPS that would include other wraparound health services to support individuals seeking health services. As we explore the best location to reach the vulnerable population that accesses these services, we will be initiating engagement and conversations with community leaders and organizations, residents, peers, and other agencies.

For more information on overdose prevention, recent toxic drug alerts, available treatment, harm reduction and supports for families and loved ones impacted by the toxic drug crisis, please visit northernhealth.ca