British Columbia

Health Canada approves supervised injection sites for Kelowna and Kamloops

“There is more work to, to get more people from their use alone and bring them into a safe space," medical health officer says.

B.C. will soon see its first supervised injection sites located outside the Lower Mainland

While Interior Health has been operating harm reduction sites for some time, they will soon be able to provide full supervised injection services. (Jaimie Kehler)

Health Canada has approved two supervised injection sites for Kamloops and Kelowna.

The facilities are mobile — built into two recreation vehicles — and will allow users to take drugs under the supervision of health care workers.

Until now, Interior Health has been using the clinics to provide harm reduction services in Kelowna and Kamloops.

The health authority now has approval to supervise drug use and provide medical assistance where needed.

"The purpose is first and foremost to prevent overdose deaths," said medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema. "So people who may inject in the back alley or in a bathroom now have a space where they come and use their drugs safely."

The clinics will operate much like Insite in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Mema says health workers will also be able to supply people with advice and materials on addictions harm reduction and treatment options.

She hopes users can get beyond the stigma of drug use, and come use the service.

"There is more work to get more people from their use alone and bring them into a safe space."

The mobile clinics will be operational in a few weeks.

With files from Brady Strachan