The Cowichan Valley’s controversial overdose prevention site on Trunk Road will be moved.
The OPS will be part of a new Wellness and Recovery Centre that Island Health has announced will be located at 5878 York Rd. in Duncan, and opened in the fall of 2020.
While Island Health prepares to open the Wellness and Recovery Centre, overdose prevention services will continue to be located at 221 Trunk Rd. and operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Cowichan Valley branch.
In a statement, Island Health said it will work with its partners and clients to ensure a smooth transition for individuals who use overdose prevention services in the area.
“Island Health will continue to collaborate with our community partners on the broad social challenges linked with mental health and substance use,” the statement said.
“Island Health is also committed to continuing to work with neighbours to address concerns.”
The CMHA Cowichan Valley has operated the OPS under contract and funding from Island Health since September, 2017, but Island Health has issued a Request for Proposal for a new overdose prevention and opioid treatment service provider in the Cowichan Valley to replace the CMHA.
The RFP will be open until May 13 and can be viewed at BC Bid at www.bcbid.ca/.
“We are grateful for the commitment and support CMHA is providing to vulnerable people in the Cowichan Valley through the overdose prevention service,” said Keva Glynn, executive director of mental health and substance use, public health, and child youth strategy with Island Health.
“Island Health has issued a request for proposal to identify a service provider that can support the Wellness and Recovery Centre.”
The new Wellness and Recovery Centre will provide a range of services to support people living with addiction and mental health concerns when it opens.
It will bring together primary care, harm reduction, case management, overdose prevention, and on-site treatment in one location.
“I’m thrilled to see this new place of healing coming to the Cowichan Valley,” said Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“This wellness and recovery centre will allow countless people to access the mental health and substance-use services they need and deserve and help them on their pathway to healing and hope.”
Existing community mental health and substance-use services will be moved to the centre, including outreach teams.
These complement new services that will include nursing, supports for people in their treatment and recovery, and improved access to treatment for opioid use disorder.
“We are pleased to find a location that allows us to expand the mental health and substance-use services so desperately needed in Cowichan,” said Leah Hollins, chairwoman of the board at Island Health.
“People will now have seamless access to a range of services that support health and wellness.”
Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau said the project is representative of how much can be achieved when a community comes together and advocates for each other.
“This has been a hard, long-fought campaign by the people of Cowichan and I cannot express enough my gratitude and
appreciation for everyone involved,” she said.