A documentary communicating the major risk factors and evidence-based risk management strategies to prevent overdose in housing facilities

Principal Investigator: 
University of British Columbia
Faculty of Medicine
School of Population and Public Health
Award Type: 

BC is facing a public health emergency due to the high number of overdose deaths. In 2017 alone, over 1,448 people died from drug overdose.

  • According to BC Coroner’s services, 58 percent of overdose deaths occurred in private residences (e.g. garage, trailer homes) and 27 percent in other housing facilities (e.g. rooming house, hotel/motel, homeless shelter, single room occupancy (SRO), drug recovery house, halfway house, group home, senior residence). The number of deaths in these housing facilities have increased from 19 percent (2016) to 27 percent (2017).
  • Coast Mental Health (CMH), which manages 37 housing facilities with approximately 4,000 residents across the Lower Mainland, have lost many residents due to overdose.

Staff at these facilities work closely with residents, creating an opportunity to provide support services. The UBC Addictions and Concurrent Disorders Group has partnered with CMH to facilitate implementation of evidence-based solutions within the housing facilities to prevent further overdose incidents. This partnership included gaining a better understanding, a clinical assessment of high-risk residents, and an opportunity to create a more appropriate service model.

Risk management of opioid overdose is complex and comes with risk factors spanning across health and social determinants of health. Communicating such complexities require knowledge exchange tools that engage and guide an individual through a logical pathway. This team will develop and distribute a 10-minute documentary that communicates the research evidence on the major risk factors of overdose fatalities and risk management strategies that housing facilities can implement.

The three major risk factors are unsupervised injection, concurrent disorders, and low opioid tolerance. This short documentary will be co-developed with CMH to engage housing providers through dynamic audiovisuals, narratives of those most affected by the overdose crisis, and animations. It will be distributed through a screening event and online channels (e.g. websites, YouTube, etc.). The knowledge acquired from this documentary will support non-profit housing organizations to integrate evidence-based risk management strategies into their practice to prevent further fatal and non-fatal overdose incidents.

Host Institution: 
University of British Columbia
Research Location: 
University of British Columbia