Proposed supervised consumption sites for B.C. Interior revealed
Interior Health looking at downtown Kelowna location, mobile units for Kelowna & Kamloops
Interior Health is seeking public feedback on potential locations and models for supervised consumption services in both Kelowna and Kamloops, in light of the province's growing drug overdose crisis.
The health authority said the two cities have the highest number of overdose-deaths in the region and have been chosen as priority communities for supervised consumption services.
A supervised consumption site would provide sterile injection supplies, education on safer injection along with overdose prevention and intervention.
Life-saving service, say health officials
"Supervised consumption services save lives," said Health Minister Terry Lake in a news release.
"They help to prevent overdoses and reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C."
Interior Health has already had meetings with local governments, the RCMP, drug users and community members about the benefits of supervised consumption sites. Now, it is taking the next step to seek public feedback on proposed locations and service models.
The proposed locations, service models include:
- Kamloops mobile unit — locations, stops to be determined based on overdose data, user feedback
- Kelowna mobile unit — locations, stops to be determined based on overdose data, user feedback
- 477 Leon Avenue, Kelowna — space owned by Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
Community need cited
The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society is located in downtown Kelowna near an Interior Health outreach centre and close to a homeless shelter.
"We've had discussions about this for quite some time because it's pretty obvious the community needs a [supervised] injection site," said Cam Martin, an administrator at the centre.
"We're seeing an environment with the fentanyl problem and overdoses where it's just obvious that this is a medical health problem," he said.
He said he believes public and government attitudes are changing towards how to address drug addiction.
Residents of Kelowna and Kamloops are being asked to provide feedback on the proposals.