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Kelowna council to hear from Interior Health about safe injection site proposal

FILE PHOTO - An injection kit is shown at Insite, a safe injection facility in Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. With overdose deaths soaring in the city, Dr. Trevor Corneil, senior medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority, will be discussing the possibility of a safe injection site in Kelowna with city councillors on Monday, May 16, 2016.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
May 13, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - With overdose deaths soaring in the city, Dr. Trevor Corneil, senior medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority, will be discussing the possibility of a safe injection site in Kelowna with city councillors on Monday.

Corneil was not immediately available for comment but Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran confirmed safe injection will be part of the presentation on harm reduction during council's Monday morning public meeting.

The health authority has applied for the federal drug law exemption necessary to open a safe injection site in Kelowna, its largest city, however Corneil has said previously it would be done in consultation with the city and those most affected by its location.

With 14 overdose deaths each up until April 30, according to the B.C. Coroner Service, Kelowna and Kamloops are at the forefront within the health authority of the overdose epidemic that is plaguing the province.

Just four months into the year, Kelowna is closing in on its 2015 total of 19 overdose deaths, while Kamloops has doubled the number it had for all of 2015. West Kelowna at two has already matched its 2015 tally.

Vernon has recorded three overdose deaths up to April 30, 2016 and Penticton has recorded one. Salmon Arm and Merritt have each had one overdose death.

Interior Health Authority region, as a whole, has recorded 45 overdose deaths in that period.

The B.C. Coroners Service says prelimary data shows the opiod fentanyl is has been involved in just under half the 256 overdose deaths report province-wide so far in 2016.

There were 480 overdose deaths across the province in 2015, about a third involving fentanyl.

Provincial medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared a public health emergency in mid-April allowing public health officials to begin gathering real time data on fatal and live overdoses.

Find more stories on Overdose here.


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