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Health officials ask to open new supervised drug consumption site in Victoria

Request for Victoria supervised injection site

VICTORIA — Health officials on Vancouver Island are asking the federal government for permission to open a supervised drug consumption site in downtown Victoria.

Island Health says the application was sent to federal Health Minister Jane Philpott on Tuesday and two more are in the works.

Officials say the site would be part of a centre offering public-health and mental-health services, and would include a consumption area with up to 10 booths.

There are currently just two safe consumption sites open in Canada, both located in Vancouver, but a deadly overdose crisis across B.C. has prompted calls for new sites to be created.

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake enacted a ministerial order last month that allows for the creation of overdose prevention sites, where people can use drugs under the supervision of trained professionals equipped with overdose-reversing medicine.

Island Health says there are two overdose prevention sites open in Victoria, and another is set to open soon, but the long-term goal has always been to have supervised consumption services that are client-centred.

The Canadian Press