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

Township unveils new plans for museums, cultural centre, Aboriginal arts lodge

New homes and shops also included in Fort Langley proposals

‘There was nowhere to go’ — Langley couple caught in false Hawaii missile alert

Drew and Kailey St. Cyr were on their honeymoon in Hawaii when they received a terrifying message

Union files human rights complaint over Chilliwack school trustee’s LGBTQ comments

Board and trustee Barry Neufled facing $50,000 tribunal charge over alleged ‘unsafe work environment’

Aldergrove seniors centre invites new members to join

Aldergrove Veterans and Seniors Society has been serving senior citizens and guests since 1980

Stealth work OT, come through with first win

Joel McCready nets winner, Eric Penney makes 52 saves as Vancouver knocks off Buffalo

UPDATED: SUV fire at Langley mall (with video)

Firefighters respond to Fraser Highway incident

Pipeline routing through Chilliwack subject of NEB hearing Monday

City of Chilliwack, WaterWealth Project and local Sto:lo intervenors in the hearing

Aldergrove Star Calendar

Calendar of events and activities in Aldergrove and area

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

Vancouver Island marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Aphria’s annual production forecast increases to 230,000 kgs

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Fraser Valley truck driver killed in Alberta semi truck crash

Young driver was adjusting load on side of highway to Fort McMurray

Drivers urged to slow down during Alex Fraser Bridge construction

Work crews are installing a snow removal system and movable counterflow lane

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Most Read