Vancouver Agreement Health and Quality of Life

Health & Quality of Life

The public health emergency due to epidemic drug overdose deaths and rising rates of HIV infection in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) was the catalyst for creation of the Vancouver Agreement (VA).

Task teams representing government and community agencies (Youth, Women, Aboriginal, Food Security, Living in Community) have developed opportunities for the VA to focus on improving health and quality of life for inner-city residents.

The VA has spent $5 million supporting several community organizations in their innovative approaches to health care delivery and to address the social determinants of health.

Some of the key actions are:

Supervised Injection Site, North America’s first legal site to promote safety for users opened in 2003. It provides direct services to drug users including referral to detox, counseling and treatment, as well as serving to reduce the level of drug use on DTES streets.

North American Opiate Medications Initiative (NAOMI) was launched to prescribe heroin to people with long-term and severe addictions to better meet their health needs and to reduce the negative impacts of their drug use on the community.

Living in Community, a collaboration born of community concerns about the impacts of sex work and sexual exploitation on neighbourhoods, involved the facilitation of extensive discussions among sex workers, residents, community groups and businesses. These unprecedented discussions led to the production of a comprehensive report and a tool kit of strategies for living together as a community. The collaboration is now implementing the recommendations that arose during the dialogue.

See more Health and Quality of Life projects.