Meet Shannon, Illicit Drug Overdose Response

Meet Shannon, Illicit Drug Overdose Response

Job Title
Project Manager Illicit Drug Overdose Response


How long have you worked at VCH?
3 years

Tell us what you do at VCH in one or two sentences:
I began working at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) as an RN at Insite while completing my Masters in Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. I am now the Project Manager for VCH’s response to the provincial opioid overdose emergency. In my role I oversee: the Supervised Injection Service applications; support for Overdose Prevention Sites; knowledge transfer and resource sharing between VCH and the community; and developing policies and protocols for overdose prevention in housing. We just added new resources about the overdose emergency response for VCH staff on VCH Connect. For VCH staff, visit the internal VCH Connect page to find info about: naloxone training, take-home naloxone kits, ordering harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention sites, and accessing opioid agonist therapy. For the public, visit the VCH overdose page

What’s your favourite thing about your work?
My favourite memory from my time working for VCH was my first few shifts at Insite. I was a community nurse in San Francisco for 10 years, watching and learning about Insite’s ground breaking successes for this much needed health service, and now I was finally given the opportunity to work and learn at the most prolific supervised injection service in all of North America.

One thing we might be surprised to learn about you:
I appreciate that having another interest and passion outside of harm reduction work is important so I focus some of that time on hula hooping! This activity is a playful form of exercise and it allows me to meet new people from the creative arts community.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by activists in harm reduction and drug policy. One of my local inspirations is Donald McPherson. He has been a mentor since we met at a harm reduction conference in Portland in 2008. His sense of humor and dedication to change Canada’s archaic drug policies help motivate me to maintain my own passion and focus in this field.

Most healthy habit:
My most healthy work habit is taking 10 minutes at noon each day to walk up and down the stairs at my office at 601 West Broadway. It pulls me away from my desk for a little exercise and a chance to talk with co-workers who I don’t always get a chance to interact with regularly. Want to join us!?

Favourite vacation spot:
Pender Island