B.C. launches emergency response centre to curb overdose deaths

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy says centre to connect provincial, local teams

The provincial government is launching a multi-tiered overdose emergency response centre to better connect regional and local social workers, health authorities, first responders and others.

On Friday, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced the centre will be located out of the Vancouver General Hospital, seeing as the city has the highest number of overdose deaths.

Between January and September this year, more than 1,100 people have died of an overdose in B.C., compared to 981 in 2016, and 519 in 2015.

“We are escalating our response, not just to prevent overdose deaths today, but to get at the very heart of the crisis so that no one has to lose another loved one,” Darcy said.

Led by Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly, the facility will be made up of experts and full-time health staff in Vancouver, with five regional teams implemented at each health authority.

New teams will be in place by January, Darcy added, in communities identified as having most urgent need.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram

The teams will focus on four priorities: expanding harm reduction through more access to treatment and housing, increasing access to Naloxone and training, implementing more drug testing systems at overdose prevention centres, and offering more drug substitution programs.

Currently, only 200 people have access to drug substitution programs, all located within the Downtown Eastside.

In November, Darcy announced two pilot projects: a new drug-checking program at a Vancouver overdose prevention centre, and expanding the supply of fentanyl test strips across B.C.

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: fire destroys Pitt Meadows outbuilding

Three RVs are write-offs following Saturday night blaze

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

SHARE: Pre-smoke the sunset illuminated the skies in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

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

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read