Surrey City Councillor Laurie Guerra. (File photo)

Surrey councillor asks if CERB playing a role in drug overdoses

Laurie Guerra says drug rehab manager told her CERB is ‘probably one of the worst things’ for recovering addicts

Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra says a drug rehab manager recently told her the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is “probably one of the worst things” for recovering addicts.

She asked city staff if the CERB is playing a role in increased drug overdoses here.

Guerra told council at its last meeting July 27, before the summer break, that she and Councillor Doug Elford had recently toured a drug rehab.

“One of the managers there was saying one of the worst problems, and I guess reasons why people were overdosing so much, is because of the CERB benefit,” Guerra told council. “He said it was probably one of the worst things that can happen for recovering addicts, to all of a sudden get a huge sum of money.”

She asked Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas to comment on whether that is “really indicative of what is really going on in the streets.”

Thomas replied, “I don’t think I can comment on that.

“Our people just respond to the crisis and we don’t where know the source, or how users get their drugs from. So I couldn’t answer that, I’m sorry.”

The CERB is administered by the federal government and helps support workers and the self-employed to weather the pandemic financially. Those eligible for the benefit can receive $2,000 for a period of four weeks – that is, $500 per week.

City Manager Vincent Lalonde said the opioid crisis remains a major health crisis “in itself” during the pandemic and that the city is trying to minimize the pandemic’s effect on it.

“There is an uptick in the opioid crisis that is escalating, I would say,” Lalonde said.

READ ALSO: Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

READ ALSO More than 50,000 checks: Surrey COVID-19 compliance, enforcement team’s role has ‘evolved’

Thomas agreed that there’s been an increase in fatal overdoses in Surrey lately.

“Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria are the highest three townships in the province experiencing overdose fatalities with May being the highest previous and then June being higher than May,” Thomas said. “The Fire Service is working with the provincial health officer to try to adjust response, to get more Naloxone.”

Naloxone is a medication that’s used to suppress opioid’s effects on someone experiencing an overdose.

Thomas said part of the problem is that a high percentage of people who are fatally overdosing are using drugs alone, in their homes.

“So the health authorities have launched an app for users to use to help notify 911 if they can’t respond after using,” Thomas told council.

Surrey’s next council meeting is set for Sept. 15.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreyCoronavirusopioid crisis

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

Just Posted

Local theatre still struggling under COVID-19

How long can show go on for Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows’ cinemas?

LETTER: B.C. Parks need to be a priority in the upcoming election

Maple Ridge writer feels a more effort must be dedicated to preserving and upkeeping parks

13 productions shooting in Maple Ridge this month alone

Maple Ridge was one of the first Lower Mainland municipalities to welcome back film crews

ON COOKING: Chef Dez offers help in the kitchen during a pandemic

COVID-19 has more people at home and spending time in the kitchen

NETWORKING: Cultural competency is crtical in Maple Ridge, too

VIDEO: In response to Black Lives Matter, the CN Network conducted a number of local interview

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Ahead of likely second wave, 60% of Canadians relaxing COVID-19 measures

Proportion of Canadians not following safety measures has dropped by 3 per cent in the past two weeks

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Most Read