What is an Overdose Prevention Van?

overdose prevention van rear opening

Are you an outreach organization or a harm reduction program?

Do you provide a mobile overdose prevention service or witnessed substance use/supervised consumption service?

Are you looking for a way to build relationships with people in need and start conversations about a road to recovery?

Then the mobile medical van from AVAN Mobility could be for you.

In 2020, there were 91,799 drug overdose deaths in the United States.

At AVAN Mobility, we designed an overdose prevention van (called the Mobile Mitigation Van) to help mitigate this issue by:

  • Preventing overdose deaths
  • Reducing public drug use
  • Connecting clients to health services

 

In this article, you’ll learn what an overdose prevention van is, how you can use one, what the advantages are of having one, and who it’s right for. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about overdose prevention vans.

What is an overdose prevention van?

An overdose prevention van is a mobile medical van setup that offers supervised consumption services. 

overdose prevention interior layout
Mobile Mitigation Van

 

It’s a safe space where a medical professional or social worker staff can monitor clients using substances and respond to medical needs as they arise. 

People using substances can come in and do what they need to in a clean, sterile, and safe environment, away from parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces. 

An overdose prevention van provides sterile injection equipment that can: 

  • Promote safe injecting practices
  • Reduce needle sharing
  • Prevent transmission of viruses and infections
  • Prevent overdoses

 

Public health responses often focus on large urban centers, while mid-sized and small communities face the same challenges–such as the growing opioid epidemic–with fewer resources. 

A Mobile Mitigation Van can help you meet your patients where they are when a permanent location isn’t an option or doesn’t meet your patients’ needs. 

How are overdose prevention vans used in the US?

Overdose prevention vans can be used by outreach organizations, mobile overdose prevention programs, and harm reduction programs in many different ways, but the most common is to use them as supervised consumption sites. 

Supervised consumption sites “connect people to support services, including housing placement and drug treatment” according to the National Harm Reduction Coalition website.

But what does this actually look like? 

Well, a person will bring their drug to an overdose prevention van to consume. 

The drug is injected, snorted, inhaled, or consumed as pills and trained staff (either nursing staff, social workers, or peer and community workers) will monitor the person and be available to provide medical help if there is an accidental overdose. 

A 2017 clinical study focused on the success of supervised consumption sites from the University of Alberta found that supervised consumption sites decreased the amount of ambulance calls for treating overdoses by 67%. 

What are the advantages of having an overdose prevention van?

There are many advantages to getting an overdose prevention van for your organization.

 

1. They prevent emergency room visits by providing a safe, sterile environment and medical supervision

A mobile medical van prevents an estimated 600 emergency room visits per year, according to Mobile Health Map, by providing healthcare to individuals where they are–eliminating the need for them to find healthcare elsewhere. 

 

2. You can strategically place them where your clients are

People may be apprehensive about going to a supervised consumption site, either because it is far away from them, or because they have no way to get there. 

An overdose prevention van can alleviate this issue because people don’t need to travel far to access a safe environment where they can consume a drug–the van can come to them.

You can strategically place these vans where your clients may go to consume a drug. This could be parks, playgrounds, or other public spaces. 

 

3. They improve health outcomes by providing medical assistance before an overdose becomes an emergency

Overdose prevention vans can help patients treat an overdose quickly, reversing the effects in time to save someone’s life–and, in some cases, removing the need for an ambulance. 

What equipment does an overdose prevention van come with?

The overdose prevention van from AVAN Mobility, called the Mobile Mitigation Van, comes with the following equipment: 

  • 3 Stations for Safe Injection
  • Sink in MOP Van
  • Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry
  • Three individual desk pods with chairs, panels for client-to-client privacy, and electrical outlets
  • Wipe-clean aluminum for a clean, sterile environment
  • Secure partition for privacy between driver and rear compartments
  • Optional awning for a comfortable tent-like area for staff and clients
  • Mobile office space for healthcare or social workers to perform administrative tasks
  • Rear compartment heat and air conditioning system built to keep clients comfortable in variable climates
  • Bright LED lighting provides a safe, comfortable environment for working with clients at any time of day
  • Durable, anti-slip running boards provide staff and clients an additional step to make getting in and out of the van safer. Their unique design prevents snow and ice buildup to minimize the risk of slips and falls

Who are overdose prevention vans right for?

Overdose prevention vans are right for outreach programs, mobile overdose prevention programs, and harm reduction programs. 

Your next steps to securing an overdose prevention van for your program

You came to this article to learn what an overdose prevention van is. 

Now, you know what an overdose prevention van is, how you can use it, what the advantages are to having one, and who it’s right for. 

If you’re still not sure if the Mobile Mitigation Van is right for you, talk to an expert today. 

Or, check out these related articles: 

Kylie Jones

Kylie Jones

As AVAN Mobility's Marketing Director, Kylie is passionate about understanding the challenges that healthcare and transportation organizations in the USA face.

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