About Safer Alternative for Emergency Response

SAFER expands on historic opioid agonist treatment protocols by piloting new medication options for people at risk of drug poisoning where other treatments have not been successful.

A partnership between PHS Community Services Society, Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Centre on Substance Use, with funding from Health Canada, SAFER provides regulated alternatives to toxic street drugs.

The SAFER initiative – Safer Alternative for Emergency Response – builds on our engagement with street-entrenched illicit drug users who experience significant barriers to healthcare.

In consultation with program physicians, patients will be prescribed pharmaceutical-grade options including fentanyl patches and powder for witnessed consumption.

The dose of the medication is titrated to the participant. This means that the medication is trialed at low doses and gradually increased to establish an individual’s tolerance and appropriate, safe dosage.

Participants are supported by Peer Navigators who have lived or living experience with addiction, and PHS Mental Health Workers are available to make connections with housing/shelter, nutrition, primary care and recovery services.

  • Partners :

    Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Centre on Substance Use

Looking ahead

PHS is a respected leader in innovation in the area of substance use care.  SAFER expands on our existing programs by creating a new flexible safe supply model with health care provider oversight, with rigorous evaluation so the program can be scaled.