Shayne Williams is executive director of Lookout Emergency Aid Society, which runs the SafePoint supervised consumption site on 135A Street. (Photo: Amy Reid)

VIDEO: Fraser Health’s first safe consumption site is one year old today

After more than 60,000 visits and hundreds of overdose reversals, not a single death reported at 135A Street site

Surrey’s SafePoint injection site on 135A Street turns one year old on June 8 and to celebrate, Fraser Health has released a video highlighting just one of the lives it helped turn around in that time.

In a release, Fraser Health shared the story of 52-year-old Curtis Carter, a man who visited the injection site 182 times in five months, and overdosed 24 times.

“I was one of their first clients,” said Carter in a release. “In fact, I was probably their ‘worst customer.’”

After countless visits, Carter went back into treatment and now works as a peer support worker at SafePoint four nights a week.

Raised in Victoria, Curtis said he made a life for himself in construction, becoming a senior consultant for an architectural firm in Las Vegas until he was involved in a minor car accident and started taking opioid painkillers.

Whem the prescription for the pills soon ran out, he turned to the street to find more.

Carter said he sought treatment in Burnaby in early 2017, but relapsed.

“I spent that summer using on the street,” he said. “I was a mess.”

Carter said he got sober again last October, beginning suboxone treatment after overdosing and waking up at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

He has overdosed at least three dozen times that he’s aware of, and added: “SafePoint is the reason why I’m still on this planet.”

See more: VIDEO: A first look inside SafePoint, Surrey’s safe consumption site

Fraser Health says Carter is just one of 1,561 people who have used the site, run by Lookout Emergency Aid Society. The safe injection site has seen 61,572 visits, with not a single death reported.

Staff at the centre have reversed more than 620 overdoses in that time, according to the health authority.

The safe consumption site was the first of its kind in Fraser Health, and the first in North America outside of downtown Vancouver.

SafePoint sees an average of 200 visits per day, according to Fraser Health. It’s a place where drug users can inject drugs, but also consume them orally and nasally.

Fraser Health said the facility has also helped close to 1,400 people in Surrey connect to opioid antagonist treatments such as suboxone and methadone, since January 2017.

“I personally visited SafePoint last summer where I watched as staff reversed not one but two overdoses at the same time. Their compassion and commitment was truly inspiring and this was proof of the need for supervised consumption services as part of our strategy to address the overdose crisis,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy in a release. “By providing these supports, and helping people access first-line treatment for opioid addiction, SafePoint can save lives and be the catalyst for people to take the first step forward in their recovery journey.”

The creation of supervised consumption services in Surrey is part of Fraser Health’s strategy to address the overdose emergency in the region. A total of 511 people have died from fatal overdoses in B.C. this year, according to the latest numbers released by the provincial coroners service on June 7.

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continue to be the most impacted, making up 50 per cent of all overdose deaths.

See also: 511 overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2018: Coroner

Other Fraser Health initiatives to help address the crisis have included handing out more than 18,000 naloxone kids to reverse overdoses; establishing an Intensive Case Management team to help heal and house people with severe substance use disorders and mental illness; and creating a First Response Youth Addictions Outreach Team that provides addiction outreach services and group programming to high risk, street entrenched youth under the age of 19.

“We know that using substances can have a negative impact on a person’s overall health,” said Shayne Williams, Executive Director for Lookout Housing and Health Society. “When a person walks into SafePoint, they are welcomed without judgment and are supported to take small steps that can help them to lead a safer life. Every overdose we reverse or prevent is another life saved in our community.”

Since SafePoint’s opening, Fraser Health opened a second Surrey supervised consumption site located at Quibble Creek Sobering and Assessment Centre. On June 16, it will also have been open for one year.

To read more about Fraser Health’s overdose prevention strategy, visit fraserhealth.ca/overdose.

Just Posted

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Mission filmmaker tackles topic of youth and the social media epidemic

Kim Laureen teams up with her daughter to create documentary film Selfless

Mission to take a closer look at clothing donation bins

Recent deaths around the country have caused some communities to ban the bins for safety concerns

Live demos and stunt shows part of Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Annual event returns to Tradex in Abbotsford from Jan. 18 to 20

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Most Read