The drug crisis throughout the province has been a big issue for the past couple years after its spike in deaths.
During the Williams Lake City Council meeting, Dr. Carol Fenton, Alison Houweling and Katie Matuschewski, of Interior Health, broke down the drug crisis, and reduce stigma to council.
One of the points they made was the demographic of people who overdose. 74 percent are of ages between 30-59, 78 percent being male, 14 percent being First Nations and 12 percent being homeless. The statistics provided during the presentation were province wide.
Interior Health says street drugs that cause the overdoses are unpredictable due to them having a high level of toxins and a lack of labelling. An example for labelling is percentage of alcohol on a bottle of liquor.
Interior Health then went over different services that are being provided currently.
Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) provide a few services such as individual and group counselling, youth outreach, and more. Public Health provides outreach nurse, and hospitals have community crisis response, suboxone in ER, and more.
The representatives for Interior Health then went over what municipalities, like Williams Lake, can do.
The big point here was the supervised consumption, also known as safe consumption site. These sites would be for uses of injection, snorting, and smoking. Interior Health also noted that most overdoses are due to smoking rather than injection, so the safe consumption site would also have proper ventilation.
Other ways Williams Lake could help are:
- Naloxone – Training in schools and workplaces and have kits be more accessible
- Drug Checking
- Provide healthy coping outlets
- support for those with disorders
Council looks to have more discussions on the matter as time progresses.