Coming together for a sombre anniversary

April 13, 2022

On April 14, 2016, the increasing number of opioid overdoses prompted the Province to declare a public health emergency. Six years later, close to 1,500* family members, friends, coworkers, teammates, neighbours and friends have been lost to overdose within the Interior Health region alone.

In recognition of this sombre anniversary, IH mental health and substance use teams and community partners will display black balloons in communities across Interior Health on April 14. This acknowledgement of all those lost is inspired by international Black Balloon Day which took place on March 6.

“Interior Health continues to expand harm reduction measures and invest in mental health and substance use services,” says Interior Health president and CEO, Susan Brown. “We know the steps taken over the last six years, such as distribution of Take Home Naloxone kits, introduction of drug-checking services, opening new supervised consumption services and expanding substance use treatment, have saved countless lives. Unfortunately, the crisis continues in the face of an increasingly unpredictable, poisonous drug supply. We never lose sight of the lives lost and continue to work hard to expand access to harm reduction and treatment.”

Across Interior Health, mental health and substance use services have been expanding alongside increasing overdose prevention services. New youth substance use services including inpatient treatment, counselling, intensive case management and withdrawal management beds have been added recently, along with record investments in adult substance use services.

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Call 310-MHSU or visit interiorhealth.ca to learn more.

How can you help?

  • On April 14, display black balloons at your business/home.
  • Take the pledge – avoid stigmatizing language around substance use.
  • Carry a naloxone kit and learn how to use it. Find a location where you can get a kit and training.
  • Start a conversation – whether you are a parent, friend, or colleague, talking about overdose prevention and substance use is a crucial step.
  • Learn how to identify and respond to an overdose. Call 911 in case of overdose – the Good Samaritan law can protect people from drug possession charges if they experience or call 911 after witnessing an overdose.

*BC Coroner's Service Drug Toxicity Reports 2016 - 2022

Stories@IH

Stories@IH

More Articles for News Release

2 Minute Read
News Release

Interior Health (IH) clinics are now scheduled for children between the ages of six months and four years old with a COVID-19 vaccine specifically…

1 Minute Read
News Release

People living with substance-use challenges in B.C.'s Interior will have access to more treatment and recovery supports as the Province…

3 Minute Read
News Release

Summer is here and, for many of us in the B.C. Interior, it’s a time to enjoy actively moving around in our communities. Many people are enjoying…

1 Minute Read
News Release

People in the Interior will soon see an increase in surgical capacity as Interior Health adds five new operating rooms (OR): two at Kelowna…

1 Minute Read
News Release

People in Nelson and surrounding areas will soon have access to high-quality long-term care in their community with the construction of 75 new…

1 Minute Read
News Release

A new pharmacy at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is now open, offering enhanced operational efficiency, improved working conditions and…

STAY CONNECTED

Receive alerts, news and stories@IH right to your inbox!

mail