Interior Health has been running a program that gives people who have lived with or have living experience with substance use the opportunity to get involved and share their voice.
IH’s Peer Inclusion and Engagement Project offers a variety of ways that people can share their expertise: through employment with IH as a Peer Support Worker, or through Peer Advisory Group and Peer Volunteer roles (both of which pay honorariums).
Brock Thomas is a Peer Volunteer with the program and a member of the Spallumcheen (Splatsin) Band. He was recruited to be part of the Integrated Treatment Team in North Okanagan (Enderby/Salmon Arm area) and has been with the program from the beginning; he was one of the first to complete the intensive 11-week, provincial peer support training curriculum in 2020. Brock’s involvement in a pilot peer support initiative with the Splatsin community has been integral to exploring ways in which the IH peer program can potentially strengthen connection and supports in an Indigenous community.
“There is a toxic drug crisis in British Columbia,” Brock said. “Twelve people have died in the past year in my community from overdose and I wanted to be part of change.”