Two overdoses in one week at the Vernon library prompts increased security - InfoNews

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Two overdoses in one week at the Vernon library prompts increased security

Vernon Library
Image Credit: Google Street View
January 31, 2017 - 4:56 PM

VERNON - Those visiting the Vernon library will notice security guards watching over the building following two overdoses in the past week.

According to Stephanie Hall, with the Okanagan Regional Library, individuals were found overdosing in the library washroom on two separate occasions. The first was on Jan. 23 and the second on Jan. 28.

“This is pretty unusual and I think staff at the branch are quite rightly concerned,” Hall says.

She believes the overdoses were non-fatal, but says the incidents were quite stressful for staff, who phoned 911.

“They are very caring staff and of course are very concerned for everyone involved,” Hall says.

In response to the incidents, the library has hired a security company to patrol the building. Administration is also exploring the possibility of having a naloxone kit — which is used to revive people from overdoses — on hand.

"We are stepping up our security in the branch. We do have safety procedures in place, but we are reviewing them in light of these incidents," Hall says. 

They have also reached out to Worksafe B.C. for any recommendations they have on maintaining a safe worksite. The regional library's director of human resources was in the branch today, Jan. 31, to talk to staff.

The situation is a first for the library and Hall says they are doing their best to respond with compassion and with all of their patrons’ best interests in mind. 

“We had none in the last 12 months and have already had two in 2017,” she says. “It’s very worrying. It’s a bit of an epidemic across B.C.”

Drug overdoses claimed 13 lives in Vernon last year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. Another 108 non-fatal overdoses were recorded by Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s emergency department.

“It’s a really serious issue across Vernon and obviously the library is not immune,” Hall says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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