Overdose action teams to hit the streets in Kelowna, Kamloops and Vernon - InfoNews

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Overdose action teams to hit the streets in Kelowna, Kamloops and Vernon

International Overdose Awareness Day Kamloops candlelight vigil participants, Aug. 31, 2016.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
February 01, 2018 - 11:59 AM

Three Interior cities are amongst the hardest hit in the province by the ongoing opioid overdose crisis and will see new rapid-response community action teams aimed at getting people quickly into care.

Kelowna, Kamloops and Vernon are amongst 18 communities eligible for up to $100,000 each to fund the creation of the teams, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy announced this morning, Feb. 1, in Abbotsford.

The B.C. Coroner’s Service announced yesterday that over 1,400 people overdosed across the province last year including 75 in Kelowna and 39 in Kamloops.

Darcy called it a “bold new approach” and said the teams would play a role in targeting government resources where most needed by working closely with local government, indigenous groups, first responders, social service agencies and heath professionals.

The mandate of the action teams will be to help expand local harm reduction services, increase the availability of naloxone, address the unsafe drug supply and establish proactive services for people at risk of overdose.

The teams are one of the recommendations from the newly created Overdose Emergency Response Centre announced in December.

Darcy said the action team concept will be rolled out in other communities as the need arises and will funded and administered by the Overdose Emergency Response Centre.

The B.C. government declared a provincial health emergency in April, 2016 in the face of soaring overdose numbers.

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