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.

BC legislatureoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Conservation Officers seek public assistance

A mule deer buck was poached within Elkford town limits

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Editorial – Voters think little of political opportunism

John Horgan is playing a very cynical game with his own government’s health message

Annual Elk Valley Pride Festival paints the town rainbow

Festivities began with a spirited Pride Bike Parade and flag raising ceremony

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read