Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Five years after the provincial government declared illicit drug poisonings as a public health emergency, there still doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kelowna mother Helen Jennens and other members of Moms Stop The Harm placed crosses at Rotary Beach Park on April 14 to commemorate the children she and other parents have lost.

Since 2016, more than 7,000 British Columbians have died from illicit drugs and Jennens said improvement in that time has been limited.

“When the public health emergency was first announced, there were 922 deaths in British Columbia. Now five years later, just in 2020 alone, there were 1,716 deaths.”

Jennens said the pandemic and the public health order to limit interactions with others has only exacerbated the situation, with people being forced to use alone.

At the same time, however, she acknowledged that the pandemic has also slowed down people’s access to illicit drugs.

“The pandemic has prevented our usual stream of illicit drugs getting into the country,” she said.

“So we’ve done some great things: safe injection sites, the wider use of Naloxone, harm reduction. But we really need to work towards decriminalization of people who use drugs and a safe supply.

“We are denying people that are sick life-saving medication. We would not do that with any other illness and yet we deny people with substance use disorder the medication that can possibly save their lives.”

Jennens’ plea echoes the provincial government’s announcement that it will request a federal exemption to decriminalize the personal possession of drugs.

“If we can decriminalize, it’s in the right direction. But right now, what we need is a regulated safe supply if we want to save lives.”

READ: B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. overdoses

 

Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Just Posted

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland’s lakeshore land should be protected

There is an opportunity to restore this important lakeshore habitat for fish and wildlife

BC Transit is planning several route expansions in Penticton in 2022. (Black Press file photo)
Transit use down in Penticton, multiple route expansions planned for post-pandemic

The number of riders is just over half the peak of January 2020

Police attend house party, then hear shots fired outside the Oliver detachment, with a truck fleeing and set on fire, followed by a pharmacy set on fire early Saturday morning. (File photo)
Shots fired at police, multiple arsons in same night ‘very concerning’ for Oliver RCMP

Police were called to shots fired at a house party, followed by a vehicle and pharmacy set on fire

A garden shed from Allform Construction Inc. will be the prize in a raffle to benefit Agur Lake Camp. The wilderness camp west of Summerland is the only barrier-free camp in British Columbia. (Contributed)
Construction begins on garden shed for Agur Lake Camp raffle

Facility near Summerland is only barrier-free camp in British Columbia

Four windows were broken at Queen’s Park elementary over the weekend. (Google Maps)
Two Penticton schools hit by vandals recently

Queen’s Park elementary had four windows broken over the weekend

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

White Rock’s Marine Drive is being restricted to single-lane one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants, with indoor dining restricted from the end of March to some time after the May 24 weekend. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Passengers on board the Komagata Maru are shown in this undated handout image. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Public Library
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Kamloops Fire Rescue’s Captain Brian Lannon has been identified as the diver who is presumed to have drowned in Okanagan Lake over the weekend. (Contributed/Kamloops Fire Rescue)
Presumed drowned Okanagan Lake diver identified as Kamloops firefighter

Crews continue efforts to recover Brian Lannon’s body from the lake

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

A Gofundme campaign is underway for Salmon Arm man Tim Kubash who was injured in an accident on May 5. (Contributed)
Friends step up for Salmon Arm man facing big life reset

Gofundme campaign underway for Tim Kubash after life-altering accident

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read