Jessica Elofson, left, holds her daughter Gillian Elofson’s hand while sharing about her struggles with addiction during the fifth-annual Overdose Awareness Day walk in Port Angeles Saturday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Post-addictions programs in Okanagan receive support

Supported programs in Okanagan focus on supporting safety and harm-reduction efforts

Several Okanagan towns are the recipients of government funding to support post-addictions employment programs.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions announced March 9 that Penticton, Vernon, West Kelowna and Revelstoke are four of 24 communities in the province who received funding.

Each have received up to $50,000 to support initiatives that build on community wellness, combat the overdose crisis and save lives.

Specifically with regards to the overdose crisis, the supported programs focus on supporting safety and harm-reduction efforts.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

The City of Penticton has been awarded $50,000 to expand the Paid Employment Opportunities for People with Lived Experiences (PEOPLE). This is a peer-designed and led program that provides training and partnerships that lead to paid employment opportunities for people with a history of substance use and/or homelessness.

The PEOPLE program will also be expanded in West Kelowna with the City receiving $50,000.

The City of Revelstoke received $33,789 for a community wellness and harm reduction project.

The Ministry explained the project will include updating the Revelstoke Community Substance Use Strategy with a focus on including the voices of people with lived experience, and also developing and implementing anti-stigma activities throughout the community.

The City of Vernon has received $27,900 to expand Folks on Spokes, a peer-based pre-employment program that provides needles recovery and clean up.

The program will now include harm reduction education and awareness components designed and led by people with lived experience.

“Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe community,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Judy Darcy.

“We know that when people come together to identify challenges and solutions, we can create vibrant communities that put residents’ wellness first.”

READ MORE: B.C. man rides the addiction roller coaster with relapses and recoveries

READ MORE: Opioid crisis a complex issue, says Penticton RCMP

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