Programming Connection

Overdose Prevention Site at St. Paul’s Hospital 

St. Paul's Hospital


What is the Program?

The overdose prevention site (OPS) at St. Paul’s Hospital (operated by Providence Health Care) offers a non-judgmental and safer place to use drugs in the West End of Vancouver. In addition to overdose management and monitoring, the OPS offers a variety of harm reduction services (e.g., sterile injection supplies, safe disposal of needles, drug testing). The OPS is located on the grounds of St. Paul’s Hospital and serves hospital inpatients as well as members of the West End community.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), the local health authority, funds the project through funding available in response to the overdose crisis. VCH contracts with RainCity Housing for the day-to-day management of the site, as RainCity has previous experience running an OPS in Vancouver.1 Providence Health Care provides the space on the hospital grounds as well as facilities management (e.g., garbage disposal).

The OPS opened on May 8, 2018, and is the first OPS in Vancouver outside of the Downtown Eastside. The site originally opened in a walled tent in a St. Paul’s Hospital parking lot and has since moved into the basement of a building on the St. Paul’s Hospital campus.

1. RainCity Housing provides innovative, specialized housing and support services for people living with mental illness, addictions and other challenges. Peer work is embedded throughout the organization and harm reduction is a core value of their work: