Overdose crisis addressed through new Kelowna prevention sites

Interior Health implementing overdose prevention sites in Kelowna to address overdose crisis

  • Dec. 13, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Two overdose prevention sites will be up and running in Kelowna by the end of this week.

As part of the province-wide effort to reduce the number of people dying of drug overdoses, Interior Health will be implementing overdose prevention sites at Living Positive Resource Centre and the recently vacated, former Kelowna Health Centre site. Staff at all sites will be equipped with naloxone and have the appropriate training for overdose response.

“In the wake of a spike in overdose-related 911 calls, and in light of the current cold snap across the province, health authorities are moving quickly to set up overdose prevention sites in communities where a significant number of people have been suffering overdoses,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

“We needed to act quickly with this emergency measure to help save people’s lives, which is our foremost concern as we continue our work to combat the overdose crisis.”

The opening of overdose prevention sites is supported by a ministerial order issued on Dec. 9  under the Emergency Health Services Act and Health Authorities Act. The order directs that health authorities establish overdose prevention sites based on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer in locations of very high risk during the public health emergency declared under B.C.’s Public Health Act in April, 2016.

“IH continues to see dramatic increases in both fatal and non-fatal overdose events, and we need to ensure people are safe right now. These overdose prevention sites can help provide increased clinical support and save lives.” said Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Trevor Corneil.

“While Kamloops and Kelowna have the highest number of overdose deaths, we recognize overdoses are on the rise in communities across Interior Health. Therefore, we will continue to closely monitor other hot spots or areas of concern.”

Unlike supervised consumption services, which offer a range of prevention, harm reduction and other health services such as addictions care, the purpose of overdose prevention sites is to increase the likelihood trained staff are able to intervene with naloxone and breathing support when an overdose occurs, and prevent catastrophic brain injury and death.

Health authorities continue their work to apply for permanent supervised consumption services, which will have supervision services integrated and embedded with other health and social services, including mental health and substance use services and referrals and peer support.

The Kamloops and Kelowna overdose prevention sites, as well as sites in Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, and Prince George, are the provincial government’s latest steps in response to the opioid overdose crisis.

In July 2016, Premier Christy Clark appointed a Joint Task Force on Overdose Response to provide expert leadership and advice to the Province on additional actions to prevent and respond to overdoses in B.C.

As part of the response, law enforcement is working at all levels of government to intercept and block the supply of toxic drugs, and health officials are working to address the immediate and longer-term health needs.

To that end, B.C. is expanding access to life-saving naloxone, supervised consumption services, and opioid addiction treatment medications and services, as well as improving the effectiveness of addiction treatment and access to appropriate substance use supports.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Evacuation orders and alerts issued for North Thompson

Some properties in Electoral Area ‘E’ and ‘J’ are asked to leave immediately

City of Kelowna water advisory expanded

Residents of Swick Road water system added to the advisory

Kelowna, what do you look for in a mayoral candidate?

Black Press reporter Matthew Abrey hit the streets to ask the question

Kelowna cops searching for Rutland toilet vandals

Thousands of dollars in damage done as toilets at Rutland Sports Fields are smashed

Huge new Kelowna food bank ready to open

Food bank officials promise a ‘grocery store-style’ expedience for clients at the new location

What’s happening

Find out what is happening around the valley this sunshine-filled May weekend

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Run for beer along Penticton’s Ale Trail

The second annual Penticton Beer Run takes place on June 2

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read