Canada’s health minister has announced $71.7 million in emergency funding to help combat the opioid crisis in B.C.
The money, divvied up nearly 50-50 between provincial and federal monies, is earmarked to improve access to addiction treatment services with a focus on young and Indigenous people in the province.
Canada’s federal health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced the money at an opioid symposium in Toronto Thursday, alongside B.C.’s addictions minister Judy Darcy. There, the two ministers also signed a bilateral agreement under the new federal Emergency Treatment Fund.
“Lives are being saved every day at overdose prevention sites; by connecting people to treatment; by expanding the available treatment options; and by training more prescribers,” Darcy said in a news release.
“We will continue to build a system where people who need help can receive it quickly and where addiction is no longer treated as a moral failure tainted by shame, but as the health issue that it is.”
Nearly four British Columbians are dying each day from an opioid overdose. Between January and July there have been roughly 878 deaths, according to BC Coroners Service statistics.
Across Canada, 3,800 people died from opioid-related overdoses last year.