Urban Health

Opening a supervised injection site 'not a simple process': new guidelines aim to help (Dr. Thomas Kerr)

With more supervised injections sites opening in B.C. and applications moving through the Health Canada approval process, the B.C. Centre for Substance Use has published a new set of guidelines for running these facilities.

To win the fight against AIDS, we must end the war on drugs (Dr. Julio Montaner and Dr. Kora DeBeck)

There is much to celebrate: the end of AIDS may be in sight.

Opinion: How to effectively address the overdose epidemic

We’re now more than a year into the public health emergency declared by British Columbia’s provincial health officer as a result of the province’s rising rate of drug overdose deaths.

Overdose statistics – February 2016

Fatal overdoses

According to the BC Coroners Service, in January 2017 there were 116 overdose (OD) deaths due to illicit drug use across BC. 50 of the deaths occurred in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 45 of them were in Vancouver.

Overdoses in VCH & PHC urban areas

From January 1 to February 18, 2017 there were 1,008 illicit or unknown drug overdoses at VCH and PHC emergency departments (ED). Opioids accounted for 32% of the visits with heroin being the most commonly reported substance. 38% of the overdose visits were due to an unknown substance.

Closing of St. Paul's Hospital’s AIDS ward is symbolic of progress

For more than a decade, Ward 10C was ground zero in Canada’s struggle against the AIDS epidemic.

An otherwise sterile and unremarkable room within Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital, Ward 10C was a place where patients came to die. The generic name was code for the hospital’s AIDS unit.

Portuguese expert urges Canada to declare overdose crisis a health emergency (Crosstown Clinic)

The head of Portugal’s addictions directorate is urging Canada to declare the opioid overdose crisis a national health emergency.

On Vancouver visit, Portugal’s renowned drug czar says fentanyl should be declared a national emergency (Crosstown Clinic)

Dr. João Goulão has received international attention for the lead role he played in Portugal’s fundamental shift in drug policy. It culminated with a massive investment in treatment options and, in 2001, the decriminalization of illicit narcotics, including cocaine and heroin. In subsequent years, such progressive policies resulted in invitations from around the world.

Methadone switch contributed to opioid crisis: drug users (BC Centre on Substance Use)

Drug users trying to quit heroin are gathered for a meeting in Vancouver with one mission in mind: to support each other through the struggles of a reformulated treatment drug they say hasn't worked and has instead contributed to the opioid epidemic.

Is the fentanyl situation an overdose crisis or a poisoning crisis? (BC Centre on Substance Use)

When someone drinks too much, we call it alcohol poisoning. 

Vancouver's supervised injection site struggles with the rise of fentanyl

Welfare Wednesday in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES): monthly cheques have just landed. Fresh $50 and $20 bills are flashing around. In this neighbourhood, regular government cash injections see a spike in the open drug trade. More heroin, cocaine, crystal meth. More consumption, more overdoses, and lately, much more death.

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