A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)

Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

A new grief group to support those who have lost a loved one to overdose or suicide has begun in Penticton.

The group, hosted by the South Okanagan Loss Society and Pathways Addiction Resource Centre, will gather six times to assist people living with the “unexpected loneliness and unbearable challenge of losing a loved one.”

The six-part series began Jan. 20 and will also be held Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 1o a.m. to noon at Pathways Addictions Resource Centre.

Participants will explore new tools to help them cope with the grief of losing a loved one and be able to share their thoughts and experiences of how their lose is affecting their lives.

The group is facilitated by Sam Luicer and Dorothy Point of the the South Okanagan Loss Society.

Lucier said that support groups can be essential for those grieving the loss of a loved one from overdose or suicide because those deaths are often stigmatized.

“I think what the group does is provide a safe place for people to come with that devastating feeling and to be able talk about it and explore it and try to learn how to live with it,” Lucier said.

9-1-1 calls for overdoses spiked in Penticton and across British Columbia in 2020. In Penticton, there were 474 overdose calls made in 2020. From Jan. 1, 2019 to Oct. 31 2020 Penticton saw 31 overdose deaths recorded by the B.C. Coroner Service.

Approximately half of the deaths occurred in private homes. Fentanyl — a highly potent synthetic opioid — was detected in every single overdose death recorded in Penticton.

Advance registration for the support group is required and attendance is limited. For more information, contact Point via email at dorothypoint@pathwaysaddictions.ca or call 250-492-0400.

READ MORE: Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

READ MORE: Penticton overdose calls see drastic increase in 2020



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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