Overdose Prevention and Education Network

Activating BC communities to prevent and respond to opioid overdose

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OPEN’s goal is to activate mental health and substance use (MHSU) service providers across British Columbia to respond to opioid overdoses within their communities, equip them with overdose prevention education and response tools, and ultimately reduce harm to people who use opioid drugs.

Background

In 2016, there were 978 illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia, the highest amount on record. Fentanyl was detected in 67% of these deaths, compared to 29% in 2015, and 25% in 2014. In response to this sharp increase, BC’s provincial health officer declared a public health emergency in April 2016. In September 2016, CAI approved $750,000 in funding to the OPEN project, with the goal of increasing the MHSU sector’s capacity to prevent and respond to opioid overdose. OPEN provides 11 convening grants to community-based organizations across the province, with special focus on activating community networks that address populations at greater risk of opioid overdose. Organizations receiving grants will collaborate with community partners in developing a local strategy aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic in their region, and have the opportunity to qualify for Local Action Grants. In addition to grants, the project also provides support to each organization through availability of evidence-based overdose prevention training, provision of Naloxone kits and other first responder tools, and facilitation of a collaborative knowledge exchange.

OPEN’s Impact

Click the link to view the full infographic

 

For more information, visit the OPEN Evaluation Page.

OPEN’s Grantees

BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors (BCYADWS) 

Groups Served

Those who use substances or have used substances across all demographics

Overdose Response Work

  • Supported 10 drug user groups province wide to become established in their communities through funding, weekly meeting support, feedback, and travel
  • Created a network of supports. Leading to emergency responses that facilitated peers in supporting check points for peers travelling to treatment from North to South (providing shelter & transport to peers) who would otherwise be displaced due to unsuccessful attempts in treatment or medical detox
  • Ten drug user groups established that collectively serve approximately 1-2,000 individuals across the province

BEAP (Business Engagement Ambassador Program)

Groups Served

Those who use substances or have used substances across all demographics

Overdose Response Work

  • Supporting/partnering with other harm reduction, poverty reduction and homelessness initiatives in the community (i.e., Naloxone training, safe consumption sites, other peer support programs in the community, outreach and education, harm reduction supplies distribution)
  • Providing ongoing peer mentorship opportunities for those who have experience with drug use and homelessness.
  • Harm reduction through youth development and education (specifically youth that have experience with foster care, mental health, drug use, and homelessness).
  • Providing opportunities for dialogs, workshops, and conferences around drug use, homelessness, etc.

ILLICIT Projects

Groups Served

Those with and without lived experiences of drug use

Overdose Response Work

  • Performances have raised awareness for audiences outside of the neighbourhood. To reduce stigma by educating non-drug users, education and knowledge building and building agency. All which help to reduce accidental overdose deaths within our community

Lake Country Health Society

Groups Served

Working to engage youth, to help them in prevention and harm reduction. Work with a highly transient population between 2 urban centers of Kelowna and Vernon.

Overdose Response Work

  • Lake Country Health works to reduce the harm of substance use by providing supports to substance users and their family members, by offering harm reduction supplies and mental health supports.
  • Lake Country health engages youth to create open dialogue, prevent risky substance use, and reduce the harm of substance use
  • Lake Country health works to meet users and their families members needs and to engage them to provide supports
  • Working with local youth to develop youth focused Tiktok content on the topic of harm reduction. Some Tiktok clips had 1000+ views. Aim to help develop 10 youth ambassadors/leaders a year in Lake Country. The youth peer leaders will learn about harm reduction and share the information with peers.

Nelson Fentanyl Task Force 

Groups Served

Our stakeholders serve many different populations including youth, LGBTQ people, Indigenous people.

Overdose Response Work

Empowering peers to be part of the conversation.

  • Engaging stakeholders to work together with a common purpose.
  • Promotion of low-barrier harm reduction practices to our greater community and region.
  • Setting a regional standard in terms of anti-stigma practices and inclusion of peers in community.

Pathways Addictions Resource Centre 

Groups Served

  • Men in trades
  • Families of people using opioids
  • Youth using opioids
  • Anyone else who is struggling with substance use and addiction

Overdose Response Work

  • 120 ICCON clients with zero overdoses
  • Over 500 family members involved their loved ones’ recovery
  • 40 people with opioid use disorder have gone back into the workforce
  • Positive connects made with organizations to support people who are struggling with opioid use disorder so staff understand the process of recovery

Port Alberni Harm Reduction Roundtable for Youth Services 

Groups Served

  • Peer Youth with Lived Experience
  • LGBTQ2+ youth
  • Indigenous youth
  • Youth transitioning to adult

Overdose Response Work

  • Collaborating with Port Alberni’s Youth Services to increase access to harm reduction supplies, services and education for youth in our community. Development of a community agreement on Harm Reduction for Youth. Professional development for the roundtable participants, and members of the supporting organizations.
  • Youth Training and Youth Knowledge Exchange; Developing and Delivery of Overdose Alertness for Youth, featuring Take Home Naloxone Training.
  • Putting youth peers with lived experience at the front of the work, by engaging a Youth Advisory on Substance Use. Providing meaningful opportunity for the Youth advisory to participate in, and inform the work of the response work. Above all, privileging the wisdom, experience and stories of youth on topics of substance use and overdose

Coalition of Substance Users of the North: Support (CSUNS)

Groups Served

  • People who use drugs
  • Indigenous people
  • People who are homeless or precariously housed
  • People experiencing poverty

Overdose Response Work

  • Supporting the Coalition of Substance Users of the North (CSUN) to build and expand on their services to support people who use drugs in the Northern Region
  • Supporting PWLLE in various employment opportunities, such as the Clean Team; building capacity and providing opportunities to be leaders in overdose prevention work in Quesnel

Ridge Meadows Overdose Community Action Table 

Groups Served

  • Youth – engagement and opportunities for conversation
  • Peer network – Identified needs for harm reduction resources and necessities, capacity building
  • Our focus with this funding supporting the community conversation around stigma, trauma and resilience

Overdose Response Work

  • Inclusion and engagement of Peers in projects
  • Supporting peer network connections
  • Capacity building support for local peer organizations

South Island Community Overdose Response Network 

Groups Served

  • Youth – engagement and opportunities for conversation
  • Peer network – Identified needs for harm reduction resources and necessities, capacity building
  • Our focus with this funding supporting the community conversation around stigma, trauma and resilience

Overdose Response Work

  • Increase collaboration among organizations responding to overdose and individuals with lived and living experience offering support and education on overdose prevention and response
  • Develop and implement community-led initiatives, including political advocacy directed at the City of Victoria and the province, to improve the lives of people who use criminalized substances
  • Inspire conversations to advance decriminalization of drug use and provision of a safe supply of currently illicit drugs

Stó:lō Service Agency (SSA)

Groups Served

  • In addition to First Nations people in generally, we have focused specifically on an underserved, high-risk group: First Nations women. In our effort to highlight the underserved, we have also targeted men in trades.

Overdose Response Work

  • Creating a call to action within the local Chilliwack Community
  • Shed light on hidden populations at risk of overdose

Vancouver Community Coalition Against Prohibition and Overdose (VanCCAPO)

Groups Served

  • CPDDW:
    People who use drugs.
  • DUDES Club:
    Indigenous men.
  • TORO:
    Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel tenants.
  • WAHRS:
    Indigenous people who use drugs..

Overdose Response Work

  • Direct outreach to, and advocacy alongside, people who use drugs, including education.
  • Storytelling and narrative production; this includes releasing resources for people who use drugs on how to survive the current genocide against them, and information that combats the current medical narrative that safe supply must be institutionalized.
  • Drug user capacity building, resource development, and interagency collaboration; this includes best practice policy development and ongoing expansion and moderation of a peer-to-peer education curriculum.
  • The production of research and information dissemination to the community as warranted and requested.

Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Center (VACPC)

Groups Served

  • Urban Indigenous in DTES Vancouver

 Overdose Response Work

  • Frontline engagement with urban Indigenous community in DTES
  • Cultural approach to health of the whole person and community connections
  • Cultural approach to inter-generational trauma, the root cause of substance use
  • Re-connecting people to community and culture

 

Coalition Name:

BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors (BCYADWS)
Business Engagement Ambassador Program (BEAP)
Chilliwack Overdose Community Action Team – Stó:lō Service Agency
Lake Country Health Society
Coalition of Substance Users of the North: Support (CSUNS)
Harm Reduction Round Table for Youth Service Providers (HRRTYS)
ILLICIT Projects
Ridge Meadows Overdose Community Action Team (RMOCAT)
Nelson Fentanyl Task Force (NFTF)
South Island Community Overdose Response Network (SICORN)
Substance User Society Teaching Advocacy Instead of Neglect (SUSTAIN)
Vancouver Community Coalition Against Prohibition and Overdose (Van CCAPO)
Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre (VACPC)

Contact

OPEN project coordinator, Morgan Reedy:
[email protected]