Building a provincial public health agenda for addressing geographic contributors to overdose

Research co-leads: 

  • Amanda Slaunwhite
    Provincial Health Services Authority 

Research user co-lead:

  • Gillian McLeod
    City of Delta

Team members:

  • Dr. Aamir Bharmal
    Fraser Health Authority
  • Jennifer Hawkins 
    Fraser Health Authority
  • Dr. Michael Schwandt
    British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, University of British Columbia
  • Amy Salmon
    Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences
  • Marinel Kniseley
    Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences
  • Dr. Alexis Crabtree
    University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Jesse Kancir
    University of British Columbia

Illicit drug overdose is the central provincial public health challenge in British Columbia (BC). All communities in BC have been affected by the overdose crisis, however little is known about how harm reduction and addictions treatment interventions can be adapted to rural and remote places that do not have supervised consumption/overdose prevention sites or addiction medicine providers.

We aim to address this significant gap in knowledge by convening a diverse group of persons with lived experience, policy makers, clinicians, and researchers from across BC to develop a public health action and research agenda for addressing geographic and place-based contributors to overdose that leverages existing data sources such as the Provincial Overdose Cohort. The objectives of this project are to:  

  1. Determine knowledge gaps and identify opportunities to collaborate across organizations and regions to better understand (a) geographic variations in overdose and (b) access to harm reduction, addictions treatment and acute care services outside of urban centers;  
  2. Identify immediate (6 month), short-term (1 year) and medium term (2 year) priorities for action in addressing overdose deaths in sparsely populated places with an emphasis on scaling up existing networks, programs and services;  
  3. Develop an interactive concept map and lay language publication that synthesizes the results of (1) and (2) for public release.