Province Injects Dollars into Addiction Treatment Research
Victoria, B.C.- With the rising number of overdose deaths in B.C. the Province will be boosting its efforts to prevent fatalities in the future.
The government is allotting $10 million dollars to support a BC addiction treatment research and training centre and to fund strategies outlined by the Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention which was established in late July ( see previous story).
Half of the funding will go towards establishing a BC Centre on Substance Use and will focus on addiction research, health provider education and clinical care guidance.
The timeline is tight with the new centre tasked with coming up with a provincial guideline to treat opioid addiction this fall.
The BCCSU will also work closely with the recovery community to develop learning opportunities, linkages and appropriate referral mechanisms.
The other $5million will be put towards areas such as issuing naloxone. Naloxone is a safe medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose and has been used to reverse more than 700 opioid drug overdoses since the program was launched. Money will also be spent training police how to administer it in the event of overdose cases. The Prince George Fire Rescue department has recently applied to be able to have naloxone on hand and for training to administer the medication.
Other initiatives to be funded include:
* a community outreach strategy by police and health authorities, including community forums to increase awareness of fentanyl dangers;
* equipment and supplies for the RCMP Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response Team to support B.C.’s police with drug testing;
* enhanced enforcement activities targeted at illicit fentanyl traffickers;
* enhanced file investigation for overdose deaths by the B.C. Coroner’s Service;
* renovating and equipping new spaces or purchasing mobile units to expand supervised injection sites
* purchasing drug identification equipment for B.C.’s Provincial Toxicology Centre at the BC Centre for Disease Control; and
* enhanced surveillance work on overdoses by health authorities and the BCCDC.
The number of overdose deaths in B.C. led Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall to declare a public health emergency in April of this year. That declaration sparked the establishment of the take home naloxone program.