Enhanced surveillance to monitor response to a provincial overdose emergency, Canada


On April 14, 2016, British Columbia (BC)’s Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency due to a significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths in the Province. Despite the declaration, 161 suspected drug overdose deaths were reported across the Province in December 2016, a 137% increase over the number of deaths occurring in the same month of 2015. In response to the surge overdoses, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH), one of 5 health regions within BC, rapidly implemented a number of novel harm reduction initiatives. Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) were opened on December 8, 2016. At these sites, people using illicit drugs are supervised by peers who can provide rapid intervention if an overdose occurs. The Mobile Medical Unit (MMU), a temporary state-of-art medical facility, was deployed on December 13, 2016 to reduce the congestion for the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) and a major urban emergency department (ED). Following deployment of the MMU, services were transitioned to a permanent program at the Downtown Eastside Connections Clinic (DTES Connections) in the spring of 2017. DTES Connections was created to provide rapid access to addiction treatment. In order to keep pace with the rapidly increasing number of novel harm reduction initiatives, enhanced surveillance programs were implemented at VCH to monitor and evaluate these innovative harm reduction activities, including development of new surveillance programs for the MMU, OPS and DTES Connections, along with existing routine surveillance system from EDs and a Supervised Injection Site (Insite).


To describe the use of multiple data sources to monitor overdoses in near real-time in order to evaluate response to the provincial overdose emergency

Primary Topic Areas: 
Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2018

January 25, 2018

Contact Us

NSSP Community of Practice

Email: syndromic@cste.org


This website is supported by Cooperative Agreement # 6NU38OT000297-02-01 Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation's Health between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC. CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on private websites.

Site created by Fusani Applications