Substance Use News: Escalating BC’s Response to the Overdose Emergency

The BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions recently released a new report,  Escalating BC’s Response to the Overdose Emergency.


Excerpt from the Executive Summary: 

The Province of British Columbia continues to respond to a public health emergency that is claiming four lives every day. The province continues to experience the highest number of overdose deaths among Canadian jurisdictions in a crisis that extends well beyond
provincial borders.

In September 2017, the provincial government announced a three-year, $322 million
investment for comprehensive interventions focused on saving lives, connecting people to
treatment and recovery, and addressing some of the root cause issues connected to
problematic substance use, such as stigma. A series of initiatives have been launched, and
through the hard work and dedication of key partners and first responders, many lives have
been saved.

The response focuses on six key areas:
1. Saving lives
2. Ending stigma
3. Building a network of treatment and recovery services
4. Creating a supportive environment
5. Advancing prevention
6. Improving public safety

Available data clearly highlight the need for an escalated response to the public health
emergency. Building on previous actions and guided by evidence, forthcoming actions will
include a focus on:

• Addressing the need for a safer drug supply
• Expanding community-based harm reduction services
• Ensuring the availability of naloxone
• Proactively identifying and supporting people at risk of overdose
• Connecting people with a substance use disorder to appropriate treatment and
recovery services.

“Through consultation, research and action it is clear that the province needs to bring
everything to bear on this crisis. Saving lives and connecting people to treatment and
recovery means moving beyond past approaches. There is no one pathway to hope; there are thousands. Not everyone walks the same path at the same speed.” (Judy Darcy,  Minister of Mental Health and Addictions).

End excerpt


Read the complete report online

Download the report


Image: Focus by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)