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

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dead following crash on Strathcona Parkway

A 29 year old man has died following a motorcycle crash on… Continue reading

Sarah Rebitt named the Vanier recipient of the Governor General’s Award

Sarah Rebitt was named the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Award… Continue reading

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Bylaw rescinded after vacation rental owners express concerns

Concerns included a lack of consultation

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018… Continue reading

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

The letter has been met with condemnation of the racism after Winnie Wu posted it online

WATCH: Rare close encounter with whale pod

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Pawsitive response by B.C. community for 60-plus surrendered cats

Community comes together to help surrendered cats at Penticton SPCA

Judge weighs Cosby’s sentence after declaring him ‘predator’

Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill made the decision as he weighed the punishment for Cosby

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Most Read