Submitted. Today Fraser Health is launching a poster ad campaign to raise awareness of the overdose crisis in the province. We are also taking this opportunity to update the work we have done to open new substance use beds in the region, serving a variety of populations including pregnant women.
“The distribution of posters throughout the Fraser Health region is an extension of the public awareness campaign we launched earlier in August with a social media toolkit,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, chief medical health officer, Fraser Health. “But public awareness alone is not enough. As a component of our comprehensive overdose prevention and response strategy, we’ve created new substance use beds to provide safe and supportive environments for people that require additional support on their road to recovery”
Fraser Health has opened 50 new substance use beds over the last 12-18 months. The new beds provide additional capacity for individuals with substance use challenges and support them on their road to recovery. A number of the beds will support specialized populations including a 12 bed program supporting women with substance use challenges who are pregnant or have newborns.
The 50 beds include:
· 3 beds – Last Door for Youth (support recovery)
· 10 beds – Maple Ridge Treatment Centre (transitional / stabilization)
· 4 beds – Kinghaven (transitional / stabilization)
· 12 beds – Elizabeth Fry Society – Ellendale “Cradle” program (support recovery)
· 5 beds – Last Door for Adults (support recovery)
· 10 beds – Elizabeth Fry Society (transitional / stabilization)
· 1 bed – Westminster House (support recovery)
· 3 beds – Charleford House (support recovery)
· 2 beds – Telmexw Awtexw Healing Centre (transitional / stabilization)
As we look to expand our continuum of care for people living with substance use issues, we will be creating beds across the region that support people in their recovery allowing them to transition to a more stable life.
In addition to the 50 beds Fraser Health has already opened, plans are underway to open an additional 97 beds by early 2017. These beds will be a combination of stabilization and support recovery beds located throughout Fraser Health with the location dependent on successful bidders. All beds will be developed through a competitive procurement process.
In addition to the new beds, beginning today we are distributing posters in various community locations including transit stops, bars and restaurants. The posters accompany an ongoing social media awareness campaign targeting various types of people who use drugs, their families and friends. The posters and the social media campaign can be found on our overdose hub under the heading public awareness campaign at www.fraserhealth.ca/overdose.
The posters were tested in focus groups with people who use drugs on a daily basis and more occasional users to increase their effectiveness. Focus groups were keen to provide insights that helped inform the messaging, including an emphasis on how to prevent an overdose and how to respond to an overdose. The participants also weighed in on the imagery used and the tone of the posters. The intent of the focus groups was to increase uptake of the campaign and help change people’s behaviour.
International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31. A public health emergency was called on April 14th by British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall and remains in effect. Recently, Premier Christy Clark announced a newly-formed Joint Task Force on Overdose Response headed by Dr. Kendall and Clayton Pecknold, Director of Police Services.