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Okanagan Nation Alliance to host 2-day opioid crisis campaign next week

Syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl are shown in this photo. Next week, the Okanagan Nation Alliance will host a two-day caravan in regards to B.C.’s opioid crisis.
Syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl are shown in this photo. Next week, the Okanagan Nation Alliance will host a two-day caravan in regards to B.C.’s opioid crisis. The Associated Press

A campaign highlighting British Columbia’s opioid crisis will take place in the Okanagan next week.

Called the Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan, the two-day event will run Aug. 27-28 and will feature stops in six Syilx Okanagan communities throughout the valley.

The caravan will start in Osoyoos then travel to Penticton for the first day. For the second day, stops include West Kelowna, Kelowna, Vernon and, lastly, Merritt.

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The campaign is being organized by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA).

“This caravan will traverse the territory to raise awareness and educate people about addictions,” the ONA said in a press release.

“It is important to recognize that First Nations people are five times more likely than non-First Nations to experience an overdose event, increasing the threat to Syilx Okanagan member communities.

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“To address this crisis, the first step is to destigmatize the growing epidemic of drug overdoses and take the shame and fear out of addiction and overdose.”

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The ONA says the caravan is in recognition of Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, and that the public is invited to take part and wear a purple ribbon

As part of the caravan, the ONA will also be hosting an awareness walk across the W.R. Bennett Bridge from West Kelowna to Kelowna. The walk will start at Shelter Bay Marina at 8:30 a.m. and end in City Park around 9 a.m.

“For this part of the caravan, we are calling any people who have been affected by overdoses or other allies to be part of the movement,” said the ONA. “Join us as we give voice and face this issue.”

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Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan details

Tuesday, Aug. 27

  • 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Drive-thru breakfast at Osoyoos Indian Band
  • 11 a.m.: Lunch at the Lower Similkameen Indian Band
  • 2 p.m.: Gathering at Gyro Park, Penticton
  • 3 p.m.: Penticton Indian Band hall. Includes stop at Aaron Lezard memorial.
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Wednesday, Aug. 28

  • 8 a.m.: Awareness Walk across W.R. Bennett Bridge from West Kelowna to Kelowna
  • 11:30 a.m.: Upper Room Mission in Vernon
  • 12:30 p.m.: Gathering at Golden Eagle building, Okanagan Indian Band
  • 3 p.m.: Gathering at Upper Nicola Band
  • 6 p.m.: Centennial Park, Merritt
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Okanagan Nation Alliance Okanagan Nation Alliance