Pubdate: Thu, 09 Feb 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Andrea Peacock
Page: A3


In response to the growing drug overdose problem, Interior Health will
establish a mobile overdose prevention unit in Kelowna this spring.

In January, IH announced its plan to apply for an exemption from
Health Canada to operate a mobile supervised injection site.

Unlike a supervised injection site, the mobile prevention unit will
focus on helping people who have overdosed or are at risk of an
overdose, and does not require an exemption from Health Canada.

"The mobile units are expected to be operational by the end of March
2017," said Dr. Trevor Corneil, chief medical officer with Interior
Health, in a report to the IH board this week.

"Through the implementation and evaluation of mobile services, we will
be well positioned to implement mobile supervised consumption services
once exemptions are received from Health Canada under the federal
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act."

IH already has a fixed overdose prevention site in Kelowna, located on
Ellis Street, which opened last December.

Similar sites are planned for Vernon and Penticton, said

In response to the overdose crisis, IH is also continuing to expand
its take-home naloxone program, which works by reversing the effects
of an opioid overdose.

"Early evaluation indicators demonstrate significant success in our
implementation efforts to date," said Corneil. "We are distributing
more (take-home naloxone) kits to substance users, friends, families
and support agencies each month."

The number of kits distributed across IH in 2016 was a 400 per cent
increase over 2015, he said.
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