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Event to acknowledge ongoing toxic drug supply crisis held at Penticton Okanagan College

The April 14 event will follow with a screening of the film, Displaced: Living in the Shadows
A take-home test kit for drug users is seen here. Interior Health has sent out two warnings about a potent and potentially deadly mix of drugs circulating around its communities. (Photo: Vancouver Coastal Health)

In Penticton 27 lives were lost to an unregulated toxic drug supply in 2022, according to the BC Coroners Service.

In the last month alone, Interior Health has issued multiple potentially deadly toxic drug supply warnings for ‘an extreme risk’ for overdose. Just today, (April 13) the health authority issued a warning that cocaine has been cut with fentanyl which has let to multiple fatal overdoses.

Ask Wellness and others are gathering at Okanagan College Penticton campus’s community hall to acknowledge this ongoing crisis on Friday, April 14 from noon to 3 p.m. This is the seventh anniversary of the B.C. public health emergency.

People can gather and interact with local resources combating the toxic drug supply and learn more about the crisis.

Following the event, there will be a screening of the collaborative film, Displaced: Living in the Shadows.

This film series released in 2021 shares the stories of people with lived and living experience of being unhoused in Penticton. The project was birthed in collaborations between OneSky Community Resource’s South Okanagan+ Lived Experience (SOLE) group and United Way’s 100 More Homes of Penticton project.

“We believe that people with lived experience are the experts in the challenges and that services must be co-created with those accessing them,” said the filmmakers.

Over 55 per cent of those who died from drug poisoning overdosed in private residences.

Recently, a school trustee from the Lower Mainland shared her heartbreaking story of losing her son to a fentanyl overdose.

In Penticton, crisis awareness days are usually held in Gyro Park.

In 2021, grieving mothers and people recovering from substance use bravely shared their stories.

READ MORE: Penticton mom speaks out on never-ending grief of losing son

READ MORE: ‘Extreme risk of overdose’: Interior Health issues another toxic drug warning for Penticton

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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