Interior view of the mobile drug overdose services clinic offered in an RV by Interior Health in Kelowna. (contributed-IHA)

Mobile safe injection unit in Kelowna breaks down

Problems with mobile supervised drug consumption RV prompts IH to set up temporary site

Interior Health says a temporary overdose prevention site will be set up in downtown Kelowna, while mechanical problems on the RV that usually provides mobile supervised drug consumption services in the area are repaired.

As of Friday (May 3), the temporary site will operate daily between 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 455 Leon Street, the same address where services have been provided downtown since the mobile site was introduced in 2017.

IH anticipates the temporary site will be required for one to two weeks. Once the RV has been repaired, it says normal operations will resume.

A tent will be used at the temporary site, similar to temporary structures used for overdose prevention in Nelson, Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Additional security and staffing will be added to support the new site.

IH says the RV that it used to provide services is currently unsuitable for supervised drug consumption due to mechanical issues with its levelers and slide-out, which are impacting the stability and available space of the unit. The resulting instability and small space creates potential risks for clients and staff.

The health authority says the RV remains roadworthy and will be parked alongside the temporary site until it goes in for repairs, at which time it will be off the road for one to three days.

Supervised consumption services in Rutland are temporarily suspended until the repairs to the RV are complete.

Harm reduction supplies and education will continue to be available at the Rutland location.

On Friday, IH said there are people in the community who have come to trust and rely on the health care services offered by safe consumption site vehicle. This gap in service creates a risk for people who use drugs and are looking to connect with the health care team for services and to reduce their risk of overdoses and death.

“Given the length of time required to properly address the RV’s mechanical issues, a temporary site provides clients continued access to the overdose prevention services, and reduces risk of overdose and issues associated with drug use in our community,” said IH in a news release issued Friday afternoon.

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