The only Overdose Prevention Site in the Comox Valley will continue to operate until this summer.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and Aids Vancouver Island (AVI) released a joint statement today explaining the centre in Courtenay will remain open until June 15th. During this time, Island Health says it will develop a new model of overdose safety services.

Mental Health and Substance Use Director for Central-North Island Lisa Murphy says the goal was to have a new model in place by March 31st.

“It was scheduled to close at the end of the month but as we were working through that transition plan with Aids Vancouver Island we realized we needed more time, so this extension really gives us the time that we need to move to the next steps,” says Murphy.

Murphy adds that Island Health is looking at what people need and want in the community so it can be added to a new service model rolling out this June.

“Overdose prevention sites really provide a valuable response for some people but there are still large groups of our communities who don’t access those sites,” says Murphy. “People who are using services all have such a rich voice to bring to our understanding. We feel like we have some of that across our communities but really want to learn more.

“We really want to hear from the communities and the people providing services across a broad range of services what they think might work and then the details of that model will emerge out of that. We would really be keen to share that with communities but we’re not ready to share that actual model yet,” added Murphy.

The AVI overdose prevention site in Courtenay will continue to operate Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 11:30am and 1:00pm to 3:30pm. It will also remain open Friday to Sunday from 11:00am to 2:30pm.