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Overdose prevention site proposal in Vernon put on hold pending further consultation

Plans for an overdose prevention site in Vernon, B.C., are on hold, according to the Interior Health Authority.
Plans for an overdose prevention site in Vernon, B.C., are on hold, according to the Interior Health Authority. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward

A proposed overdose prevention site in Vernon, B.C., has been put on hold.

In a community update issued by the Interior Health Authority (IHA), officials say the health authority has “made the decision to pause” its request for proposal (RFP) to operate the facility.

READ MORE: Vernon overdose prevention site will have limited operating hours

“Interior Health will be seeking input from key stakeholders about how the service is designed and intends to repost the RFP in the near future,” the letter says.

“While we hope to avoid any delay in implementing this important service, our goal is to establish a successful overdose prevention service that meets the needs of diverse community groups.”

WATCH: Global Okanagan coverage of overdose prevention sites 

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The RFP was issued on March 27.

The health authority maintains there is a need for an overdose prevention site in Vernon to combat the opioid crisis.

Overdose prevention sites provide spaces to monitor people who use drugs and ensure that naloxone is available in the event of an overdose.

READ MORE: Vernon is getting an overdose prevention site — Should city council get to OK the location?

It does not require an application for an exemption from federal drug laws.

There are more than 30 overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites operating across B.C., including in Kamloops and Kelowna.