August 09, 2016 - 2:39 PM
KAMLOOPS - The next big debate in front of Kamloops city council could be over a safe consumption site for illicit drugs.
Mayor Peter Milobar met with the Interior Health Authority in late July to discuss the subject, which would offer a safe area for drug users to consume illegal and dangerous drugs. The meeting was an update about where the Health Authority is with the project.
“They recognize at some point they’ll have to present in front of council,” Milobar says.
The next step for the city is to find a date that works to get representatives from the Health Authority to present to city council, he says, though the health authority still needs to discuss safe consumption sites with the federal government and provincial health ministry.
A safe consumption site discussion is worth having, Milobar says.
“It’s pretty hard to deny people are consuming the drugs in the first place in Kamloops,” he says. “They’re not just a risk to themselves.”
Needles found in public areas are one of the safety risks Milobar points out.
Kamloops has also seen a dramatic increase in drug overdoses and overdose related deaths as fentanyl becomes more common. Between January and the end of June this year 22 overdose deaths were recorded in Kamloops, compared to seven in all of 2015. A safe consumption site would mean opiate users would be in close proximity to doses of Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose.
Vancouver is home to the only safe consumption sites in Canada, notably Insite. The health authority is also looking at Kelowna as a potential host to a safe consumption site.
— This story was updated at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 to change wording of safe injection site to supervised injection site.
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