City of Surrey and Statistics Canada have launched a pilot project intended to better understand and help those at the heart of the growing opioid crisis.
There is a broad range of people who suffer from opioid use disorders and the lives that are being claimed by the overdose crisis is revealing that a significant number of the deaths are occurring in residential locations and in private.
In a joint agreement Surrey signed with Statistics Canada on Nov. 27, the Opioid Data Collection and Community Response Project is a partnership between the City of Surrey, Statistics Canada, Surrey Fire Services, the Surrey RCMP, Fraser Health the BC Coroners Service, and others.
The data generated by the project will be key to identifying the primary risk factors and will create a better understanding of the characteristics of those individuals most at risk of opioid use or overdose – including those using and dying in their residence.
The overall goal of the project is to ensure that data are available to understand the characteristics of those likely to overdose, so effective interventions can be developed.
Mayor Linda Hepner said, “This partnership will shape policy that will lead to better informed decisions on how to curb the overdoses and deaths for those who are using in private. With the data that will be collected by this multiagency project we will be able to create more precise interventions to help a population that has been widely impacted by the opioid scourge but little is known about.”
She added, “I would like to thank Statistics Canada for partnering with us for this project. Our partnership with Statistics Canada will allow us to create the kind of data that simply does not exist at the local level.”
In response Lynn Barr-Telford,Director General, Statistics Canada said, “Statistics Canada is pleased to collaborate with partners in the City of Surrey and at Public Safety Canada to ensure that quality information is available to inform action on the opioid crisis.”
This project will bring together existing federal, provincial and municipal data from Surrey in a way which has not been done to date. Combined with Statistics Canada’s statistical expertise and robust data sets, this project will help shape approaches for intervention and support for not only the opioid users who overdose in public, but for those who use and overdose at home. This work is already underway. A steering committee is in place and working groups will be developed to ensure we move forward quickly.