The IHA is concerned by Penticton’s level of fatal overdoses due toopioid use. The Health Authority has been ramping up its outreach efforts, even implementing the Naloxone Challenge to train businesses and organizations how to administer the lifesaving drug, yet the death rate still increased this year. (File photo)

Interior Health finds Penticton’s fatal overdose rate ‘concerning’

The rate has been consistenly increasing since 2015

The Interior Health Authority has acknowledged that Penticton is one of the hardest hit communities in the region in relation to the opioid crisis, but says overall overdose prevention efforts are having an impact.

The B.C. Coroners Service recently released stats that showed 17 people fatally overdosed in Penticton between January and October 2019. This is an all-time high, more than the 16 overdose deaths reported in all of 2018, 14 in 2017 and seven in 2016.

The health authority said it is concerned the city’s rates are not trending downwards like other communities in the region.

READ MORE: City of Penticton records all-time high for fatal overdoses

“There are a number of complex issues underlying these numbers. A toxic drug supply continues to be the main factor,” stated a press release from the IHA.

“Substance use is an extremely complicated issue that affects the individual, their loved ones, and communities. We all have a part to play. We are an active partner alongside other community stakeholders in Penticton’s recently established local Community Action Team, which is exploring options to enhance overdose prevention services in Penticton.”

It goes on to highlight the ongoing initiatives that have been implemented throughout the province, including the Intensive Day Treatment Program operating out of Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops and Kelowna.

“The intensive day treatment program was established to remove barriers for those who recognize they need help but have busy lives – jobs with little flexibility, or family demands – that make facility-based treatment programs unappealing or impossible,” stated the release.

In addition, residents in Penticton have access to substance use connection services to support linkages from hospital to community services (within 24 hours) for people with substance use disorders.

IHA also said it is also seeing an increase in clients connected to opioid agonist treatment (OAT) such as methadone and Suboxone.

“One-hundred and twenty-nine clients filled a prescription for an OAT in February 2016, and as of August 2019 that was up to 255,” states the release.

Businesses and organizations in the city are also invited to partake in the IHA Naloxone Challenge to learn how to administer the lifesaving drug.

To sign up for the Naloxone Challenge call 250-462-1050.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees score a 9-1 win against Merritt Centennials

The win is their third in a row in their latest streak.

‘Lift for Wills’ community fundraiser to support Penticton boy fighting cancer

This Sunday, stop by World Gym Penticton for by-donation drop-in classes, a silent auction, more.

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

ALERT and Penticton pilot team up to talk about Australian wildfires

Mike Bridson has been fighting the fires in Australia, and returns to help more later this month

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read