Interior Health is marking a successful first year of its Mobile Supervised Consumption Service in Kelowna.
The mobile service operates seven days a week in downtown Kelowna and Rutland and offers a place where people who use drugs can be safely monitored and treated if they overdose.
The service saw 26,445 visits between June 2017 and July 2018.
A total of 47 overdoses were reversed during this time, and there have been no overdose deaths on the unit.
“The Mobile Supervised Consumption Services are an integral part of Interior Health’s response to the opioid overdose emergency, to which unfortunately no end is in sight,” said Interior Health Board Chair Doug Cochrane. “We know we need to keep working to enhance substance use services, address stigma, and engage with our community partners. Every person matters and one death is too many.”
A total of 394 referrals were initiated for clients in Kelowna seeking help with housing, mental health and addiction services, and other supports.
“We are really pleased to see clients accessing service through the mobile unit who may not otherwise seek out health services. These clients are now receiving medical care, accessing harm reduction services, and initiating referrals to important social supports,” said Danielle Cameron, Interior Health IH Central Health Service Administrator for Mental Health and Substance Use.
An evaluation of the service found that, overall, the it is meeting objectives; clients find staff welcoming and knowledgeable, and many clients have accessed nursing services and been connected to community supports.
The evaluation also identified areas for improvement, particularly the constraints associated with the use of a retrofitted Recreational Vehicle, such as space limitations, privacy concerns and mechanical issues.
An action plan has now been developed to build upon some of the evaluation’s findings, with an emphasis on further enhancing service.