Public backlash from concerned citizens in Nelson has put the brakes on a supervised inhalation site slated for the Friendship Outreach Clubhouse.

Located on the 800 block of Vernon Street in Nelson, people living in the area have voiced their opinion against the operation of the Interior Health Authority site — with the site opening delayed from last weekend to a timeline of “a few weeks.”

Citing no consultation with those living in the neighbourhood, several people had pressed the IHA over the decision to open the supervised inhalation site.

Lannon de Best, executive director of clinical operations for the Kootenay Boundary at Interior Health, said in an interview with CBC Daybreak South that staff is committed to taking a few more steps before opening the inhalation site.

ANKORS Nelson and Nelson Cares currently operated two overdose prevention sites in the 100 block of Baker Street and 500 block of Vernon Street, respectively. However, both are drug injection sites and not for inhalation.

As the drug crisis persists in other cities, Nelson’s continues to see a high number of deaths — a B.C. Coroner’s report revealed 11 people died in Nelson in 2022 due to toxic drug overdose. 

More than seven years after the declaration of a public-health emergency, the toxic, unregulated drug supply continues to claim the lives of British Columbians in record numbers, according to preliminary reporting released by the B.C. Coroners Service.

Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner, said on the anniversary of the longest public-health emergency in B.C.’s history that more than 11,000 people have lost their lives due to the unregulated drug supply.

At least 374 deaths believed to be caused by toxic drugs were reported to the B.C. Coroners Service in February (177) and March (197), which equates to an average of 6.4 lives lost per day.

The 596 lives lost between January and March is the second-highest total ever recorded in the first three months of a calendar year, behind only 2022 (599 lives lost). The total number of deaths equates to a province-wide death rate of 44.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 15, 2023 at 00:22

This item reprinted with permission from   The Nelson Daily   Nelson, British Columbia
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