A take-home kit to test what’s in your drugs before you take them. (Vancouver Coastal Health photo)

Overdose response team in Vancouver shows promising results

Team gets outside traditional healthcare sites to support people who are hard to reach

A pilot project involving Vancouver firefighters and health care staff launched to stop the cycle of repeated overdoses is showing what officials say are “hopeful early results.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, city fire Capt. Jonathan Gormick and Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Patricia Daly announced the results of an overdose team pilot project aimed helping those who have had a recent overdose.

Daly says the overdose outreach team delivers services outside traditional health care sites to support people who can be hard to reach.

Overdose patients have been contacted in the days after they’ve been revived, and Vancouver Coastal Health figures show during a recent one-week period, 21 of the 22 patients contacted consented to an introduction to the outreach team.

Team member Chris Dickinson says it can be overwhelming to navigate the health care system for someone who has an opioid use disorder, and they may be unaware of the help they can receive.

Stewart says one of the key recommendations from the emergency overdose task force launched after he became mayor was to find ways to break the cycle of repeated overdoses.

RELATED: Overdose prevention sites, naloxone kits save thousands of lives in B.C., study says

“When a poisoned drug supply traps people in overdose after overdose, they not only lose hope but so do our first responders. This innovative combined overdose response team is helping to break the cycle of overdoses and bring some hope back to everyone fighting this crisis.”

The Canadian Press

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