Judy Darcy, B.C. minister of mental health and addictions. (Black Press files)

B.C. funds more overdose prevention in Indigenous communities

Judy Darcy announces $20 million for opioid intervention, treatment

The B.C. government is providing $20 million over the next three years to address the unique needs of Indigenous communities dealing with drug addiction.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced the new fund in Vancouver Thursday, to be delivered by the First Nations Health Authority to bolster the efforts of the B.C. government and regional health authorities.

Indigenous people are five times more likely to experience a drug overdose than the general population, and three times more likely to die, Darcy said.

Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical officer for the FNHA, said Indigenous women are at greater risk than other women. In the general population, 80 per cent of overdoses are men, mostly younger men. But in Indigenous communities it is a 50-50 split, with overdoses happening among pre-teens and women in their 70s.

“Many experience overdose away from home, away from the judgmental eyes of the people who love them,” McDonald said.

RELATED: More than 1,400 overdose deaths in B.C. in 2017

Darcy said the money will be administered by the FNHA, with $4 million in the fiscal year starting April 1, and $8 million in each of the next two years. Some will be allocated to harm reduction and outreach efforts in urban communities.

McDonald said there will be 55 community-led harm reduction programs, including “back-to-the-land therapeutic camps.” Training to administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone will be expanded from the current 123 communities to more than 200, and the current 86 naloxone distribution sites administered by FNHA is to increase to more than 120.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chair of the First Nations Health Council, said when the organization was established seven years ago, chiefs called for it to increase local decision-making.

“This investment gives our communities and caregivers opportunities to design initiatives and services to help our citizens heal,” Kelly said.

The FNHA has created its own website with overdose information, in addition to the B.C. government’s online resource.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack-Kent MLA decries ‘classic, big tax-and-spend’ NDP budget

Laurie Throness says budget relies on strong economy but contains no ideas to help it grow

Driver of vehicle down 90-foot embankment rescued on Highway 5 near Hope

Rope rescue conducted on mutual-aid call with Chilliwack SAR, Hope SAR and Agassiz fire department

Missing man located in Harrison Mills

Social media helps track down missing man

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

Most Read