UPDATE: Safe injection tent erected at shrinking homeless camp in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Safe injection tent erected at shrinking homeless camp in Kelowna

The tent on the left was set up at the Recreation Avenue homeless camp as a safe injection site after an apparent overdose death earlier this week.
December 18, 2019 - 10:43 AM

In the wake of the apparent overdose death of one of the homeless campers at Recreation Avenue in Kelowna on Monday, a safe ejection site has been added in a second large white tent on-site.

Connon York, a security guard at the camp, told iNFOnews.ca today, Dec. 18, that the tent went up yesterday and was staffed by two nurses overnight and served as a safe injection site. He said, maybe, four people used it.

The safe injection site came after one of the campers, Shane Bourdin, was discovered in his tent, apparently suffering from an overdose, early Monday morning. A camper alerted York, who called 911.

York said the ambulance arrived within seven minutes and Bourdin was taken away within 13 minutes of being found. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Although York referred to it as a safe injection site, it’s technically called a harm reduction site, Tim Conrad, director of public relations for Interior Health told iNFOnews.ca.

That means it’s set up to help reduce the chance of people harming themselves with drugs but also from other things like sexually transmitted diseases. The two staff members at the site do have naloxone kits and are trained in their use.

Conrad said the site was not set up in direct response to Bourdin’s death but had been talked about for awhile.

The second tent comes just as the camp, which once held an estimated 50 campers, is scaling back as spaces become available in indoor shelters.

Fuller Place started Monday to take in 40 people from other shelters, opening up spaces in the Cornerstone and Gospel Mission shelter. Seven of the campers will also be offered spots at Fuller Place.

One of the campers at Recreation Avenue told iNFOnews.ca today that it’s first come, first served at the shelters and he hoped to be able to get in and have a warm place to sleep tonight.

York said there were only three tents set up overnight and the large tent that serves as a warming shelter can sleep about 14 people comfortably. He expects maybe 20 people to use the camp tonight.

A candlelight vigil will be held for Bourdin tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the camping site on Recreation Avenue in the city's North End.

 -— This story was updated at 3:39 p.m. Dec. 18, 2019, to add in comments from Interior Health.

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