Vernon North Okanagan RCMP handed out 20 Naloxone kits according to its first-quarter report for 2020 as part of the Opioid Pilot Project. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Vernon police hand out 20 Naloxone kits in first quarter

Opioid Pilot Project’s goal is to save lives, reduce crime associated to addiction

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP have handed out 20 Naloxone kits in the past three months to those most at risk.

The bulk of that — 13 kits — were handed out in January.

Since its inception in December 2018, the Vernon police have used the Opioid Pilot Project to improve service for those suffering from substance and addictions issues and handing out kits is one part of that.

Police work hand-and-hand with Interior Health’s Mental Health and Substance Unit through the program to streamline referrals for those whose substance issues lead to their involvement in crime.

The program also sees officers undergoing training and handing out Naloxone kits to those most at risk.

In the RCMP’s first-quarter report, a total of 26 referrals have been made for those who may need access to resources.

“The goal,” of the program, the report said, “is to save lives and reduce crime associated to addiction.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia has been battling another: the ongoing overdose crisis.

In March, 113 people died from an illicit drug overdose in B.C.

This is the first time the province recorded more than 100 fatalities in a single month since March 2019.

That statistic equates to roughly seven people dying every two days.

Street-level fentanyl and similar analogues were detected in 70 per cent of all deaths, discovered through autopsies. Carfentanil, a drug used to sedate elephants, was detected in two deaths in the first three months of the year.

— with Black Press files

READ MORE: COVID-19: Classrooms may reopen for Vernon students

READ MORE: Vernon businesses in limbo over reopening plans


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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