With statistics indicating that approximately 60 per cent of overdoses among illicit drug users occur at home, a local initiative has begun to provide safety information to the community.
A website, which can be found at www.cvdopealerts.ca, has been created where people at home can log on regularly to see what is happening in terms of the safety of the local drug supply.
The website provides up-to-date “dope alerts” advising drug users about the quality of the drugs on the streets based on reports from other drug users and from other sources, and what to do if drugs are taken that can cause an overdose.
The website also has updates from Victoria’s bi-weekly dope guide, as well as information from Duncan’s Overdose Prevention Site on several issues, including local trends and overdose information.
The site also has a form for people to submit their own information about overdoses if they wish to warn others within the community.
The website, which went into operation last week, was started by the local Community Action Team, which includes key community stakeholders, with funding from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.
After a public health emergency was declared due to the ongoing opioid crisis in 2016, Community Action Teams were established by the ministry in areas of the province most-hard hit by the crisis to try to help deal with related problems and find solutions.
Stacey Middlemiss, a coordinator with the local Community Action Team, said the main reason that 60 per cent of overdoses occur at home is that most of the users don’t want many others to know about their drug habits due to the social stigma that is attached.
“The website idea was developed as a means to reach out to those doing drugs at home and don’t usually use the services in the community that are available to them,” Middlemiss said.
“We had looked at many ways to connect with people who do their drugs at home, including developing an app that they could log on to before they use, and if they don’t push a button after they use, it would trigger an emergency response. But it was determined that the app would be too expensive to set up.”