This news release has been revised to update the operating times for the outreach van. The final bullet point originally said the outreach van operated from Monday through Saturday and starting May 1 would operate later in the evening from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Government of Yukon is providing Blood Ties Four Directions with $50,000 to purchase and equip a new outreach van. The new outreach van will allow Blood Ties to offer mobile fentanyl testing and be outfitted to provide enhanced supports to marginalized individuals.
The outreach van is a partnership between Blood Ties Four Directions, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon and the Kwanlin Dün Health Centre. The outreach van coordinator, hired by Blood Ties, ensures that a standard of excellence is maintained and that clients are connected to daytime services when follow-up care is needed.
Our government is committed to fostering healthier, happier lives. The outreach van provides essential harm reduction services to vulnerable individuals in our community. A new van will allow Blood Ties Four Directions to provide enhanced support services and provide vulnerable clients with access to the care and supports they need. We will continue to work with our partners to improve access to health care services in Yukon and look forward to seeing the new van out in the community.
Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost
The new outreach van will allow us to offer more harm reduction programs such as fentanyl testing, as well as more outreach nursing programs; both very much needed in the fight to address the opioid overdose crisis in Yukon. The current outreach van – at 15 years of service – is overdue for retirement and due to its size and configuration limited the number and types of health and harm reduction services we could offer. We are very happy to have a new van in the spring and to be continuing our collaborative relationship with Yukon government for this very important outreach service.
Blood Ties Four Directions executive director Patricia Bacon
Blood Ties operates with a client-centred harm reduction philosophy and has provided outreach van services for the past 16 years. The organization will continue to receive $200,000 annually from the Government of Yukon to operate the outreach van.
In 2018 the outreach van provided services over 7,000 times to approximately 1,400 people.
Day-to-day, the outreach van is staffed with harm reduction specialists from Blood Ties. Twice a week they are joined by outreach nurses from the Kwanlin Dün Health Centre, and twice a month by outreach fetal alcohol spectrum disorder workers from the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon.
Services provided include distribution of survival gear (coats, mittens, hats, blankets, boots, etc.); coffee, tea and small snacks; harm reduction equipment and education (safer crack kits, condoms, clean needles and injection equipment); and overdose education and prevention (naloxone kits).
The outreach van’s staff work to connect vulnerable clients to social and health services, outreach nursing care and crisis counselling.
The outreach van operates Monday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. and starting May 1 will operate later in the evening to better serve clients.