Darin Froese, director of operations for a Surrey overdose prevention site holds a Narcan kit used to treat those overdosing on opiates. (Amy Reid photo)

Penticton resident starts petition for creation of overdose prevention site

“It’s only going to get worse unless we deal with what’s in front of us,” says support worker

After a year of working with people experiencing homelessness and “constantly responding to overdoses” in Penticton, Desiree Franz has come to the conclusion that the city’s most vulnerable population doesn’t have enough access to support services.

To try to help solve this issue, Franz recently began a petition to bring an overdose prevention site to Penticton. She says such a site is key to combating the city’s overdose crisis.

As of July, 143 people in the Interior Health region have died from overdoses since the beginning of 2020.

Franz’s petition, started Sept. 2, has so far been signed by 77 people. When Franz shared the petition on social media she expected some support but also some backlash from the community.

READ MORE: Fatal overdoses continue to spike in B.C. as July sees 175 illicit drug deaths

“A lot of people, I think, just want to wish the problem away but unfortunately it’s not going anywhere and it’s only going to get worse unless we deal with what’s in front of us,” said Franz.

A public overdose prevention site would be the first step to reducing the harm of the overdose crisis in Penticton, explained Franz. This, she said, would include a place where people can use safely, without disclosing personal information, and are also given access to resources that point them towards recovery services in a non-judgmental way. She mentioned Vancouver’s Insite Supervised Injection Site as a possible archetype.

Franz also noted that she expects the community would also benefit from an overdose prevention site in ways such as cleaner public spaces and a reduced crime rate. “This is a solution to not seeing used needles on the beach anymore,” she said.

Interior Health confirmed Penticton does not currenlty have a public overdose prevention site. The health authority could not immediately answer if Penticton is considered a suitable place for an overdose prevention site. However, they did note the many support services available to those with substance use issues.

Some of those support services include outreach teams established in July to engage and treat people who use substances, and help connect people to treatment and recovery services, an intensive day treatment program to remove barriers for those who recognize they need help but have busy lives, opioid agonist treatment (such as Suboxone) clients continuing to rise, and the Naloxone Challenge, which teaches community members to administer naloxone, was launched last year in Penticton.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Naloxone Challenge can contact an Interior Health representative at 250-462-1050.

READ MORE: New study calls for new approach to tackling overdose crisis

READ MORE: Some B.C. nurses given green light to prescribe safe drugs amid overdose spike



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

B.C. overdoses

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

Just Posted

Okanagan whisky lottery adds new twists

Winners of Okanagan Spirits’ Laird of Fintry lottery announced in four batches beginning Sept. 28

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Penticton Vees return to action with 7-0 win over Salmon Arm

The Vees will get right back to it tomorrow night

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

West Kelowna Warriors complete sweep of Vernon Vipers

Warriors edge Snakes 2-1 as Okanagan Cup BCHL exhibition tournament begins

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Public input sharpens vision of Oyama Ithmus Park

Proposed project to shape the long-term future of waterfront land in Lake Country

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna church service

Attendees of Calvary Chapel Kelowna’s Sept. 13 morning service may have been exposed

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

Most Read