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

Qualicum Beach Fire & Ice Festival snuffed out

Committee announces termination of event after 25 years

Parksville-Qualicum MLA says throne speech thin on detail

Stilwell: Government lacks economic development plan to pay for promises

Big chill follows big dump of snow in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Sub-freezing overnight temperatures forecast for rest of week

Generals, Buccaneers extend rivalry as VIJHL playoffs open Tuesday

Oceanside closes the regular season with back-to-back losses to Nanaimo

Vaudeville variety show in Errington kicks off

Raunchy comedy, impressive singing, sultry dances and more feature in show

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

BCHL Today: Langley enjoys home ice while roller coast ride continues for Chilliwack Chiefs

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

North Island Bantam Eagles chop down Sooke Thunderbirds in semi-final showdown

It was another do or die playoff game for the North Island Bantam Eagles last Saturday.

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down’

Hedley was dropped by their label last week after sexual misconduct accusations

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: B.C. takes home gold in two-man bobsleigh

Women’s hockey team beats Russia 5-0, Comox skier takes home best qualifying score

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Wounded Warrior Run 2018 leaves Port Hardy

The Wounded Warrior Run is a relay run where a group of runners cover Vancouver Island in seven days

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Most Read