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Overdose Prevention in Indigenous Communities

Is your organization looking for strategies to prevent overdoses and save lives in First Nations and Indigenous communities? Learn about it here.
Back view of Mobile Outreach Van for indigenous communities

According to a study conducted by the Chiefs of Ontario and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, opioid-related deaths among First Nations and Indigenous communities in Ontario increased by 132% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another report from the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia states that people in Indigenous communities are five times more likely to experience an overdose and three times more likely to die from an overdose compared to other residents.

These staggering statistics reveal a huge problem that needs to be resolved.

Our team at MoveMobility works tirelessly to solve problems such as this one. We do this by manufacturing mobile medical vehicles for organizations that help people. Your organization can use these vans to reduce public drug use, prevent overdose deaths, and connect clients to health services. 

You’re going to want to stick around to learn about our Mobile Outreach Van and Mobile Mitigation Vans. These can help your organization assist First Nations and Indigenous communities struggling with substance abuse. 


What causes overdose problems in First Nations and Indigenous communities?

Overdose problems are a serious concern in First Nations and Indigenous communities across Canada. These communities face unique challenges that contribute to the prevalence of overdoses.

Some of the causes of overdose problems are:

  • Limited access to healthcare
  • Historical trauma
  • Socioeconomic challenges
  • Lack of education
  • Remote locations
  • Cultural disconnect


How do you address overdose challenges in First Nations and Indigenous communities with a Mobile Outreach Van?

A great way to address overdose challenges in First Nations and Indigenous communities is with a Mobile Outreach Van.

Your organization can use a Mobile Outreach Van to meet individuals where they are. The van is a clinic space and a method of transportation all-in-one. The nice thing about a Mobile Outreach Van is that you can use it to address substance abuse and addiction problems before they even turn into serious overdose problems. 

Let’s look at the issues and explore how these vans can help with some of the challenges that lead to overdose problems. 


Limited access to healthcare

Issue: Indigenous communities often can’t easily get to healthcare services, which makes it tough for people with substance use problems to get help.

Solution: Your organization can use a Mobile Outreach Van to bring services to these communities so people can get counseling and support without going far away.


Historical trauma

Issue: Historical trauma from colonization can make people feel sad and hopeless, which can lead some people to use drugs.

Solution: The Mobile Outreach Van will have staff who are there to provide understanding and support. Respectful staff can help people of different cultures deal with their feelings.


Socioeconomic challenges

Issue: Many Indigenous communities have money and job problems, which can lead to stress and drug use.

Solution: You can use our Mobile Outreach Van to offer help with housing, referrals, and counseling to deal with these problems.


Lack of education

Issue: Some Indigenous communities don’t have good education, so people may not know the dangers of drug use until it’s too late.

Solution: Use our Mobile Outreach Van to teach people about the risks of drugs so they can learn to make safer choices.


Remote locations

Issue: Some Indigenous communities are far from cities, and it’s hard for ambulances to reach them quickly in emergencies.

Solution: Your organization can use our van to get to these remote areas quickly, making sure help arrives quickly in emergencies.


Cultural disconnect

Issue: When people lose touch with their culture, it can lead to drug problems.

Solution: Use the Mobile Outreach Van to help people reconnect with their culture, making them feel like they belong and have a purpose.


Features of the Mobile Outreach Van Model

Side view of Mobile Outreach van (MO Model) used by outreach programs for harm reduction.
Patent pending


Some of the features of the Mobile Outreach Van Model include:

  • Floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets: Ample storage space from floor to ceiling for all your equipment and supplies.


  • Mobile office desk space: A designated area for office work, ensuring you can handle administrative tasks on the go.


  • Options for sink and fridge: Customize your van with the option to include a sink and fridge for added convenience.


  • Overhead storage: Additional storage space above for easy access to essential items.


  • Removable passenger seats: These offer flexibility to adapt the van’s seating arrangement as needed for staff or clients.


  • Power supply: Access to power sources keeps your equipment running smoothly.


  • Rear heat & air conditioning: Maintain a comfortable environment for your outreach activities in all weather conditions.


  • Clean, comfortable environment: Designed with hygiene in mind, the wipe-clean surfaces in our vans are suitable for medical use


How do you address overdose challenges in First Nations and Indigenous communities with a Mobile Mitigation Van?

When substance abuse has gotten to a point that’s beyond just your organization providing guidance to individuals, that’s where the Mobile Mitigation Van can help. 

These vans provide a safe place for people who use substances, and they tackle some big problems.


Preventing overdose deaths

Issue: Sometimes, people in First Nations and Indigenous communities accidentally take too much of a drug, and it can be really dangerous. 

Solution: Mobile Mitigation Vans have trained staff who can quickly help if someone has a problem with drugs. They also provide clean equipment to make drug use safer and prevent infection.


Reducing public drug use

Issue: Public drug use turns into a problem for everyone in a community. It can strain relationships between friends, and family, and lead to mistrust. 

Solution: These vans offer a private and safe space for people to use drugs. This means they can do it without bothering others, and it makes the communities safer.


Connecting clients to health services 

Issue: A lot of people in these communities need help with their health and substance abuse issues, but they don’t know where to go.

Solution: Mobile Mitigation Vans connect people to important health services. Like the Mobile Outreach van, they offer things like overdose prevention, counseling, and housing assistance. 


Features of the Mobile Mitigation Van Model 

The side entrance of the Mobile Mitigation van (MM Model), used for overdose prevention, pictured outside in the winter.
Mobile Mitigation Van


These vans come with features to make sure they work well for your organization’s specific needs.

  • Private spaces: There are individual pods where people can use drugs in private.


  • Office space: Staff can use the van as an office to help people and keep things organized.


  • Clean and safe: The vans are clean and have all the equipment needed for safety.


  • Privacy: People using the van can be sure their information is kept private.


  • Power supply: There are places to charge devices and use electricity.


  • Custom options: Each van can be customized to fit the needs of the community.


Mobile Mitigation Vans are flexible and can be adapted to help different communities and programs. They’re an important part of making Indigenous communities safer and healthier.


What’s next?

Drug overdose affects Indigenous communities at a much higher rate than anywhere else in Canada.

Now that you know more about some of the solutions to prevent overdose in Indigenous communities, you should take a look at our article on supervised consumption sites. This will give you a better idea of just how effective they are in preventing overdoses. 

At MoveMobility, our mission is to create vehicles that organizations like yours can use to reduce disparities in healthcare. If you’d like more information on our Mobile Outreach or Mobile Mitigation Van, reach out to a MoveMobility expert today.




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What happens if you submit the form?

We understand that you don’t want to receive multiple phone calls, emails or spam. You just want to speak to a commercial mobility specialist who can answer your questions about accessible and mobile medical vans.

If you submit the form or request more information from us, here’s what will happen:

  • Within one business day, you’ll receive a phone call from one of our commercial mobility specialists at the phone number you provide. Click here to Meet the Team.
  • If we miss you on the phone, you’ll receive a voice message to call us back. You’ll also get an email to let you know we tried to connect but missed you.
  • Once we’ve connected, your commercial mobility specialist will have a few questions for you to understand what type of vehicle you’re looking for help with.
If at any point during the process you feel we’re just not the right fit for your community or organization, just let us know. 


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