Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems open to a proposal from Vancouver to provide millions of dollars in funding for a safe supply of opioids to reduce overdose deaths, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said after meeting Trudeau on Parliament Hill Thursday.

The city’s health agency has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine — a narcotic painkiller more commonly known as heroin.

Stewart said he found it encouraging that Trudeau didn’t shut the door to the idea when the two met.

“(Trudeau said) that he wants to work together … and open to having a conversation and then looking to us to lead, with health-care professionals, to try and figure out the best solutions to these problems,” he said after the meeting wrapped up. “So I’m very encouraged by that and grateful.”

ALSO READ: Canada first in the world to approve injectable hydromorphone to treat opioid addiction

On average, Stewart said, one person dies every day from an opioid overdose in Vancouver, where residents are calling for more urgent action.

The mayor said he was also pleased to learn Patty Hajdu is the new health minister, because she has experience with harm-reduction strategies. The Liberal MP spent years working on drug awareness in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., and was executive director of an emergency shelter there.

Hajdu said later that while she has not yet seen Vancouver’s proposal, she looks forward to sitting down with Stewart Friday.

“I think it’s really important that we work with local and municipal leaders on solutions that really make sense for their communities,” she said.

“I’m looking for good solutions on the opiate crisis,” she said.

Vancouver was the first jurisdiction in Canada to open a legally sanctioned supervised injection site in the early 2000s and Stewart says he wants to keep exploring other innovative ways to solve its deadly opioid crisis.

“We’re in a minority-government situation and there’s windows to co-operate, come together, build things that Canadians want,” said Stewart, who was a New Democrat MP until he resigned to run for mayor last year.

“I want to make sure this window doesn’t close before we deliver on these key priorities.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Shortreed students and families treated to breakfast by teachers in Aldergrove

The Santa Breakfast is a festive annual tradition where kids get to meet Santa and eat flapjacks

What are Langley’s favourite Christmas traditions?

Share your family Christmas traditions with us for a special publication.

Province wants to seize Langley property connected to drug lab

The Office of Civil Forfeiture is targeting a property on Fraser Highway

Langley knocked out of elite basketball tournament at LEC

The Tsumura Invitational boys’ tournament continues at the Langley Events Centre until Saturday

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Most Read