New mobile service in Abbotsford monitors drug use to prevent overdoses and deaths – Abbotsford News

A new mobile overdose prevention service is now open in Abbotsford to support people who use substances and help prevent overdoses and deaths.

The service uses a customized van in the Lonzo Road and Sumas Way area and harm reduction and peer support workers assist people as they use substances, including inhalants. The site is open every day from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Abbotsford’s new mobile overdose prevention site meets people where they are, with the services they need. It will save lives,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Fraser Health partners with Lookout Health and Housing Society – which operates the Riverside Shelter on Riverside Road – to run the service.

Clients can also access Naloxone kits and supplies on the mobile site.

Additionally, Fraser Health’s outreach teams, including the new Overdose Awareness Team and the Integrated Homelessness Response Team, will be available to help connect people to other health services such as mental health and addictions supports.

Fraser Health CEO and President Dr Victoria Lee said the overdose crisis continues to have a “significant impact” in the region and is a “tragic reminder of how an ever-increasing drug supply unpredictable and toxic combined with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting people from all walks of life.

“We must continue to think outside the box and find new ways to connect people to care, whether it’s stand-alone or mobile, outreach, outreach or virtual,” she said.

Currently, Fraser Health supports nine overdose prevention and supervised consumption services in the region. Plus, there are dozens of other places — in shelters and supportive housing — where people can use substances in controlled environments.

Terry Brock, Fraser Region health director for Lookout Housing and Health Society, said the mobile overdose prevention service was “much needed” in Abbotsford.

“We know that these sites reduce harm, injury and death related to people who use drugs alone,” he said.

Data from the BC Coroner’s Service shows that 68 people died from drug overdoses in Abbotsford between January and October 2021, the highest on record in a calendar year.

Abbotsford, like many communities across the province, is experiencing an increasing number of poisonings and drug-related deaths due to the illicit supply of toxic drugs.

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Fraser Health Overdose Crisis

Saada Mohammed, harm reduction worker at Lookout Health and Housing Society, at the new mobile overdose prevention service in Abbotsford. (Photo: Fraser Health)

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