On August 4th, Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, announced $10.5 million in funding that will accelerate the response to an increasingly toxic illicit drug supply due to COVID-19.

The Minister said a record number of lives were lost to overdose last month – all the more heart-breaking since before COVID-19, we had managed to bring deaths down for the first time.

The funding will further scale up overdose prevention services, expand access to safe prescription alternatives to separate people from toxic street drugs and add new outreach teams to help prevent overdose deaths, save lives and connect more people to treatment and recovery throughout the province.

To reduce the number of people using alone, funding will be used to open 17 new supervised consumption services and 12 new inhalation services in communities hit the hardest by the overdose crisis. 

The funding will be used to expand access to safe prescription alternatives for people at high risk of overdoses. Forty-two new full-time registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers and peer support workers will be added to 14 new and existing interdisciplinary outreach teams throughout the province.

Working in groups of three, these workers will help connect people with substance-use challenges, including those who use drugs alone, to treatment, recovery and services that best suit their needs. In addition, these teams will be vital in bringing services to people who may be unable to access services as a result of COVID-19.

This page last updated Aug 6, 2020 6:16pm PDT