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

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Terrace RCMP seek witnesses to fatal hit and run

The community is grieving a young man killed in tragic hit and… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Watchdog calls for probe into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Most Read