Overdose prevention sites coming to Kamloops and Kelowna in battle against opioid overdose crisis

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THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Overdose prevention sites are coming to Kelowna and Kamloops by the end of the week to help combat the number of overdose deaths from opioids like fentanyl.

Two sites will be up and running in each city by Friday, Dec. 16, according to a Interior Health Authority media release.

ASK Wellness will run both sites in Kamloops, with one located on the North Shore and the other on the South Shore, though exact locations haven’t been shared.

In Kelowna, one site will open at the Living Positive Resource Centre and the other at the former Kelowna Health Centre, which is currently vacant.

Overdose prevention sites are not the same as safe consumption sites, the release says. Whereas safe consumption sites have a range of services including harm reduction and prevention, overdose prevention sites aim have trained staff available and nearby for when overdoses occur, providing naloxone and medical assistance.

“Interior Health continues to see dramatic increases in both fatal and non-fatal overdose events, and we need to ensure people are safe right now. These overdose prevention sites can help provide increased clinical support and save lives,” chief medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil. “While Kamloops and Kelowna have the highest number of overdose deaths, we recognize overdoses are on the rise in communities across Interior Health. Therefore, we will continue to closely monitor other hot spots or areas of concern.”

Other similar sites are being opened across the province in an effort to decrease the death rate due to opioids like fentanyl.

The sites follow a ministerial order on Dec. 9 to health authorities, directing them to establish overdose prevention sites in high risk areas on the recommendation of the Provincial Health Office.

Get caught up on opioid crisis here.

Find past stories on fentanyl here.

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