Rutland overdose prevention site needed, say those close to the crisis

Not being able to provide a Rutland overdose prevention site has been hard on frontline workers who know the needs of their clientele.

This is what users of the Overdose Prevention site in downtown Kelowna are supplied with.

Not being able to provide a Rutland overdose prevention site has been hard on frontline workers who know the needs of their clientele.

“We come to work Monday morning and we fear someone who see daily or weekly will not be back again because they have overdosed or died,” said said Clare MacDonald, executive director of the Living Positive Resource Centre.

“They’re people we know. They are good people and a service that could potentially save their lives is being blocked because of fear, stigma and judgement.”

Up until Friday, it seemed as though Living Positive was set to open two Overdose Prevention Sites in Kelowna. One for Rutland, in a strip mall on Asher Road. The other at the former Ellis Street Health Centre. Neighbourhood complaints thwarted efforts to open the Rutland location and Interior Health as well as the Living Positive Resource Centre are now looking for a secondary location.

“We had a lot of people today at our front desk today asking when it will be available,” she said.

“A lot of people are distraught because they are in need of the service.”

The downtown site had a soft opening on Friday, but is expected to really get underway today, and will regularly operate from Tuesday to Saturday.

The first day went well, said MacDonald, noting few users had entered the site while she was there.

This week will offer a clearer picture of how well it will be received.

What MacDonald already knows is that it’s the right thing for the community and if more people would adjust  their view of the user, they’d likely see the benefit.

“A lot of people say online, ‘this is a choice they’re making,'” said MacDonald.

“We’re talking about addiction — it’s a disease, not a choice.   The physical ramifications for not using the substance is extreme withdrawal, and withdrawal can result in death.”

What’s worse, she said, is that the only thing that can reduce the discomfort of withdrawal now could kill.

“Now it’s fatal, and you need to be watched and if you don’t have that option and you’re in a catch 22,” she said.

If people saw who these users were, they may change their view.

“A  lot of the addictions for our clients started with a medical prescription for opiates to reduce pain after surgery or an accident,” said MacDonald.

“For some people that addiction starts right away.  Even someone who starts something recreationally doesn’t think they’re going to be an addict. “

Everyone, she said, uses substances to alter their mood.

“Some substances come with higher judgement,” she said.

 

Just Posted

Robot caretakers could be in your future

Interior Health CEO says AI will revolutionalize medical care

Kelowna walk sheds light on blood cancer darkness

The Light The Night Walk takes Saturday, April 21, from Waterfront Park

Driving Change: A Kelowna man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Kelowna examines options to connect Rutland with rail trail

Public feedback on the four options is available online until May 6

Wanted man nabbed after flipping car in Kelowna

A wanted man is now facing charges

Kelowna properties flooded along Heimlich Road

Flooding started on Spiers Road Tuesday and continued into properties, said an area resident

Locals play their part in Cirque’s Crystal in Penticton

It’s no easy task when it comes to unloading 17 semis full of equipment

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

The “industry will collapse” : South Okanagan winery reacts to ruling

Okanagan Falls winery concerned for the future of the industry after Supreme Court ruling

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Rock titans rule Prospera Place

Peter Frampton and Steve Miller have been friends for 51 years.

Most Read