Interior Health has plan for safe drug consumption sites in Kelowna, Kamloops - InfoNews

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Interior Health has plan for safe drug consumption sites in Kelowna, Kamloops

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November 24, 2016 - 10:47 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – In an effort to deal with the illicit drug overdose crisis in the Southern Interior — and reduce the number of deaths — the Interior Health Authority has released the details of a plan to create supervised drug consumption sites.

Since Kamloops and Kelowna have seen the highest number of drug overdose deaths in the Interior, those cities have been picked as the priorities for the consumption sites, according to an Interior Health media release.

After meetings with local governments, police, community and business groups, and with drug users, Interior Health has proposed a mobile safe consumption service in Kamloops, and in Kelowna, a site at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna, along with a mobile unit.

Where the mobile units will stop will be determined by overdose and drug use data along with feedback from the people who use the service, the release states.

“Evidence shows that supervised consumption services can reduce the number of overdose deaths, improve access to health care and treatment services and reduce public drug use and discarded needles,” Chief medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil says in the release. “Offering a service like this will not only benefit those at risk of overdose – it will also benefit the surrounding area.”

Now Interior Health will be looking for input on the consumption site plan in an effort to deal with any concerns, and find ways to deal with those concerns.

Interior Health says Kamloops had seven overdose deaths in 2015 and in the first ten months of 2016, 31 people have died. The story is equally grim in Kelowna where 20 people died from overdoses last year. In the first ten months of 2016 there have been 37 deaths.

No decisions on locations or services will be made until after Dec. 15 when Interior Health’s feedback period is scheduled to end. The health authority isn’t saying when the safe consumption sites will be up and running.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the proposed safe drug consumption sites can go to a webpage set up by Interior Health.

Find past stories on the overdose crisis here.


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