Developing a roadmap for nurse-assisted injection in BC’s supervised consumption services

Funding body

Micheal Smith Foundation for Health Research


Supervised consumption services are an essential part of health care and community services for people who use substances in British Columbia. These services are particularly important for people who inject substances because they offer a safer place to inject and access care and services.

The benefits of supervised consumption services for people who use substances are well documented. However, for clients who need help injecting, barriers to accessing from these services remain because staff are currently not allowed to provide injection assistance.

Nurses who work in supervised consumption services do not provide hands-on assistance with the injection itself. Clients who access supervised consumption service are expected to have the knowledge, skills, and ability to inject without help from staff. In reality, this expectation creates barriers to access, prevents nurses from meeting clients where they are at, and runs counter to the goals of supervised consumption services, which are to save lives, improve health, and increase access to care and services.

We conducted a literature review, partnered with the HIV Legal Network to complete a policy and legal review, invited harm reduction nurses to provide input using an online survey, and held consultations with four groups of stakeholders: researchers, people with lived and living experience, leaders in relevant clinical or policy positions, and nursing organizations in the province (i.e., union, regulatory body, and association).

Our final report describes why assisted injection matters, what philosophy guides nursing practice, and how nurse-assisted injection could unfold in British Columbia. It seeks to draw a path forward and offer considerations for policy change.

Final report

 Additional resources


  • Dr. Marilou Gagnon
  • Tim Gauthier
  • Kirstin McLaughlin (Trainee)
  • Sandra Ka Hon Chu and India Annamanthadoo (HIV Legal Network)
  • Virginie Dalpé (Trainee)
  • Ellery Cleveland, Marjory Ditmars, Kathleen Gregg, Kirsti Hlady (Advisory group members)