Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet (l) and Nancy Kendall are offering a free harm reduction distribution service in Cache Creek every Tuesday afternoon. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet (l) and Nancy Kendall are offering a free harm reduction distribution service in Cache Creek every Tuesday afternoon. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Mobile harm reduction service making weekly trips to Cache Creek

Service provides free kits, instruction, information, and referrals to those who need it

A mobile harm reduction distribution service is now operating in Cache Creek every Tuesday from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet, RN — a public health nurse at the Ashcroft Hospital and Health Site — says that in addition to providing smoking, injection, and naloxone kits, the service is there to give information and act as a referral source for anyone who needs mental health and counselling support or is looking for opioid assistance treatment.

Minnabarriet operates the service along with Nancy Kendall, who is there to provide administrative support, and it is now in its third week. It is located on the upper level of the parking lot of the Cache Creek Community Hall, and the pair stress that it is not a safe injection site.

“We offer a light snack when we have donations,” says Minnabarriet, noting that Horsting’s Farm has donated apples and cookies to the program. “We have the kits, and can provide naloxone training. The idea is to get a kit into every household, so if you don’t have one, you can come and get one.”

They also provide containers for disposing of used sharps, so that they do not end up in the community. “With more harm reduction supplies going out we wanted to provide sharps containers, so we’re likely to see fewer used needles in public areas,” says Minnabarriet. “It’s important to keep sharps out of public spaces.” The containers hold up to 10 sharps each, and do not have to be returned to a health site, hospital, or clininc; they can be disposed of in a garbage can.

She decided to bring the mobile distribution service to Cache Creek after The Equality Project stopped distributing the supplies in the community. “It wasn’t a service they wanted to provide, but we realized there was still a need because they were distributing a lot of kits.”

While there are sites in Ashcroft that distribute harm reduction supplies (the hospital, pharmacy, and the Elizabeth Fry Society), Minnabarriet says that when The Equality Project pulled out there was nowhere to get kits in Cache Creek. “We decided we had to try to break down that transportation barrier.”

Public health in Ashcroft serves that community, Cache Creek, and Spences Bridge, but the services provided by the mobile distribution unit are available to anyone who needs them.

“We wanted to make it as anonymous as possible, so people can come and grab a kit,” says Minnabarriet. “We don’t take names or numbers or pictures, we just want to break down barriers in order for people to have access to resources. We won’t ask people where they’re from, and they don’t have to confirm their physical address at all.”

The pair have noticed that a lot of people driving by who see them in the parking lot take a second look out of curiosity, but don’t stop in to ask about the service. “We chat with anyone who walks by,” says Kendall. “We’re here to provide what’s needed and be a couple of friendly faces who provide conversation and information.”

Minnabarriet says the service hasn’t brought any more people to the area: “It’s a pick-up site, not a hangout site. It’s a safe place to get supplies. We’ve been handing out supplies at the Ashcroft Hospital for a couple of years now, and we jumped in here because we think it’s an important part of the community.”

The distribution service will be ongoing every Tuesday for the foreseeable future. “We don’t know about the colder months; we’ll cross that bridge later,” says Minnabarriet. “There’s still a stigma around opioid use, and we think it’s really important for us to provide a non-judgmental service.”

Anyone who would like to learn more about the mobile distribution service, or obtain contact information, can drop by the site on Tuesday afternoons and pick up a business card.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cache Creek

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Hesco baskets were first used outside the Cache Creek fire hall in 2020 (pictured), and have once again been put in place as a pre-emptive measure to safeguard the hall against possible flooding. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Cache Creek taking pre-emptive measures to prevent flooding

Sand and sandbags will soon be available for all residents who need them

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read