Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems open to a proposal from Vancouver to provide millions of dollars in funding for a safe supply of opioids to reduce overdose deaths, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said after meeting Trudeau on Parliament Hill Thursday.

The city’s health agency has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine — a narcotic painkiller more commonly known as heroin.

Stewart said he found it encouraging that Trudeau didn’t shut the door to the idea when the two met.

“(Trudeau said) that he wants to work together … and open to having a conversation and then looking to us to lead, with health-care professionals, to try and figure out the best solutions to these problems,” he said after the meeting wrapped up. “So I’m very encouraged by that and grateful.”

ALSO READ: Canada first in the world to approve injectable hydromorphone to treat opioid addiction

On average, Stewart said, one person dies every day from an opioid overdose in Vancouver, where residents are calling for more urgent action.

The mayor said he was also pleased to learn Patty Hajdu is the new health minister, because she has experience with harm-reduction strategies. The Liberal MP spent years working on drug awareness in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., and was executive director of an emergency shelter there.

Hajdu said later that while she has not yet seen Vancouver’s proposal, she looks forward to sitting down with Stewart Friday.

“I think it’s really important that we work with local and municipal leaders on solutions that really make sense for their communities,” she said.

“I’m looking for good solutions on the opiate crisis,” she said.

Vancouver was the first jurisdiction in Canada to open a legally sanctioned supervised injection site in the early 2000s and Stewart says he wants to keep exploring other innovative ways to solve its deadly opioid crisis.

“We’re in a minority-government situation and there’s windows to co-operate, come together, build things that Canadians want,” said Stewart, who was a New Democrat MP until he resigned to run for mayor last year.

“I want to make sure this window doesn’t close before we deliver on these key priorities.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Development of Onni’s park land amenity at least a year off

Pitt Meadows recreation master plan will determine land use, said Dingwall

Pitt Meadows approves 4.52 per cent tax increase

Average house will see property taxes up $144 per year

Maple Ridge bear cub helps launch Christmas fundraiser

Name is needed for #19, says Critter Care

Maple Ridge boy receives Variety Red Heart Award

Hammond elementary student has been volunteering with the charity

Being Young: Saying goodbye to childhood

Think of all the things I’ve lived to see.

Christmas concert at Maple Ridge secondary

More performances in the park this Friday and Saturday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Most Read