B.C. to get $10-million boost to fight opioid crisis

The federal government announces $65 million across Canada in response to the opioid overdose crisis.

The federal government announced Friday it will spend another $65 million over five years to combat the deadly opioid crisis facing the country, with $10 million coming immediately to B.C.

Exactly how that funding is going to be doled out has yet to be determined, but the B.C. government says it will help support the work of its Joint Task Force on Overdose Response.

Projects include increased access to opioid substitution treatment, law enforcement strategies for fentanyl and carfentanil, supervised consumption services, and more access to the overdose-reversing drug, naloxone.

A total of 944 people died of drug overdoses in B.C. in 2016. An additional 116 people died last month.

“Provinces and even municipalities have been saying we need better access to laboratory testing facilities, we need better toxicology equipment, we need more epidemiologists to help us gather the data,” said federal Health Minister Jane Philpott at the news conference in Richmond.

Said B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake: “We were hoping for more, but it’s time to get down to work. I’m not saying that all of our needs are being filled.”

Lake also announced a provincial boost of $5 million to come next week to support the task force.

Last month, the minister had called on Ottawa to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency and give B.C. more cash.

He told reporters Friday: “(The new projects) could mean mobilizing federal resources, much like the mobile medical clinic in the Downtown Eastside – there may be an appropriate role for a similar federal resource in Victoria or Surrey.”

Philpott was asked whether her government planned to legalize illicit drugs to combat the rising numbers in overdoses, but she dismissed that.

Lake said he will look to the B.C. Centre on Substance Abuse for recommendations on possible legalization.

“That’s a discussion that, as Canadians, we are starting to have,” said Lake. “What works in a country like Portugal might not work in a country like Canada that’s next to the largest country in the world.”

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Ginormous 10-foot dragon towers over Saanich yard

Artist Dan Iochelli spent seven years crafting the metal beast

Return of the undead: Victoria Zombie Walk hits the streets

Hundreds of zombies expected for annual event Oct. 26 in Centennial Square

Popular corn maze at North Saanich’s Pendray Farms out of operation

No Halloween-themed activities taking place this year at local farm

Access: A day in the life using a wheelchair in Victoria

Black Press Media teamed up with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre to learn about barriers

Popular food truck to open restaurant on Oak Bay Avenue

Dead Beetz Burgers adds brick-and-mortar restaurant

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read