'They brought me back to life 24 times,' ex-client says of Surrey safe injection site
A former client is crediting one of Surrey's two safe injection sites with saving his life two dozen times.
Speaking at the one-year anniversary event for Fraser Health's SafePoint, Curtis Carter said he was treated several times during his struggle with opioid addiction.
"I would stop breathing altogether, and my lips would turn blue and my face would be grey and I was dead without them," Carter said Friday.
"They brought me back to life 24 times."
Carter used the centre's services 182 times over five months, Fraser Health said. Through the supervised injection site he was able to access treatment, and now works at SafePoint as a peer support worker.
He said he was one of their first clients, and probably their "worst customer." He said he's overdosed a total of 36 times in his life that he knows of.
"SafePoint is the reason why I'm still on this planet."
According to Fraser Health, more than 1,500 people have used the facility since its opening. Staff have successfully reversed more than 620 overdoses.
The 200 people who use the site each day not only have staff watching out for them, armed with naloxone to help those who OD, but they also have access to health education and referrals. SafePoint staff have provided health and social services to about a quarter of those who use the site.
"Every time a person visits SafePoint, it provides us with a valuable opportunity to connect with them," Fraser Health chief medical officer Dr. Victoria Lee said in a statement.
"Over the past year, we have taken tremendous strides forward in better engaging with this population. Though the overdose crisis across B.C. continues, many lives in Surrey have undoubtedly been saved because SafePoint staff have been there to reverse overdoses when they occur."