Keep the Overdose Prevention Site in Yaletown Until an Alternative Location is Found
Vancouver’s toxic drug supply claims more lives every day.
Despite our worsening crisis, the City of Vancouver has decided not to renew the lease on the Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) in Yaletown.
This is unacceptable. If the OPS closes without another to take its place, more of our neighbours will die.
The Yaletown Overdose Prevention Site, named after OPS volunteer Thomus Donaghy, was opened in 2021. At the time, the Downtown South neighbourhood had the highest number of overdose deaths outside of the DTES. The current lease is up for renewal next March.
Nearly 250 Vancouver residents have died from poisoned drugs so far this year, and more than 3,000 Vancouver residents have died since the drug toxicity public health emergency was declared in 2016.
ABC Vancouver, and Councillor Peter Meiszner, have indicated that they would keep the Yaletown OPS open until another site was selected, to ensure no disruption in service.
While the present site of the Yaletown OPS is understood to have insufficient indoor space, under the pre-2021 status quo, a mobile unit, there was no indoor space at all. The usage numbers for the Yaletown site make it clear that a mobile service would be insufficient to serve this community. Additionally, downsizing existing services to a mobile unit will result in increased impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood.
Reverting to a mobile unit, or losing this service altogether, will not solve any problems. It will only make them worse.
Tell Ken Sim and ABC: Keep your promise. Keep our neighbours alive. Keep the Yaletown OPS open until a better space is available.