Amanda Lavigne, the regional practice lead on substance use for Interior Health, stands next to the traveling memorial display at the Penticton Regional Hospital. Each of the 645 candles represent an overdose death from between 2016 and 2018. (Brennan Phillips – Western News)

Display to spark conversation about overdoses in Okanagan

Each of the 645 candles represent an overdose death in the community

The creators of a display at the Penticton Regional Hospital is intended to ignite a conversation about overdoses in the Interior Health region.

The Burning Bright display features 645 candles, one for each person that has died from illicit drug overdoses from January 2016 to December 2018.

“What we’re hoping for this display is that it sparks a conversation around stigma. People very much misunderstand addiction, it’s not a moral issue,” said Amanda Lavigne, the substance use regional practice lead for Interior Health. “We want people to know that stigma is a significant barrier for accessing health care services and accessing the services that they need. So we want this display to spark that conversation and bring light and attention to stigma in each of the communities, and ensuring that people are asking questions and being educated.”

April marks the start of the fourth year since the Interior Health Authority declared a state of emergency because of the rising number of deaths due to overdoses in B.C. Of the 645 lives lost, 36 of them were in Penticton, 68 were in Vernon, 141 in Kamloops and 216 in the Central Okanagan, according to statistics provided by the B.C. Coroners Service.

“We wanted to have a way to continue the conversation and bring forward the light of all of the 645 lives that have been lost over the last three years,” said Lavigne, of the Burning Bright display that will be in Penticton until the end of the week.

READ ALSO: Display to shine a light on overdose deaths in Interior Health region

The display, which also includes statistical information, is intended to start conversations in each of the communities it passes through about not just overdose deaths, but also the situations around the people who overdose. There is also space to leave a comment about a loved one.

“For the month of April we’re having the display travel between our four communities with the largest overdose rates in Interior Health,” said Lavigne. “So we’re starting here in Penticton. The display is here from today until Friday, and then it goes on to Kelowna, Vernon and then Kamloops.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon Peewees second at Valley of Champions tournament

The Vernon A Peewees baseball team won the silver medal on July 14

Vernon Women’s Transition House changes name

Name changed to Archway Society for Domestic Peace to showcase all programs offered

Shuswap donkey refuge event celebrates 20 years of rescues

The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge will host its Donkey Day fundraiser on July 27

Vernon speaker to motivate Cariboo residents after mill shutdowns

Change management speaker Mark DeVolder will deliver town hall keynote in 100 Mile House

Pick your own salsa at Vernon’s Davison Orchards

Event allows people an authentic “farm-to-fork” experience August 16

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

Okanagan e-scooter company foils robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations in Kelowna

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to the Okanagan

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event in Kelowna

Okanagan school district monitoring McCurdy supportive housing plan debate

Top priority for board of education is to maintain safety integrity of local schools

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Most Read