Government of Canada announces $16.5 million to support harm reduction and people who use substances in British Columbia
Throughout Canada, communities and families continue to grapple with the ongoing overdose crisis and other harms associated with problematic substance use. Unfortunately, it has been nearly five years since British Columbia declared a public health emergency under their Public Health Act in response to increasing overdoses and overdose deaths in the province.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made getting help harder for those who use substances. The latest evidence shows health outcomes for people who use drugs have worsened during COVID-19, as several jurisdictions—including British Columbia—have reported increases in substance use-related harms over the course of last year.
We remain committed to a comprehensive, evidence-based, and compassionate approach in supporting varied interventions to help people who use substances. Today, Ken Hardie, M.P., on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced nearly $16.5 million in funding for 11 projects to help support communities in British Columbia in their efforts to address and prevent substance use-related harms.
These projects will reach several key groups in British Columbia, including Indigenous peoples, youth, post-secondary students, individuals in the correctional system, and healthcare professionals. Initiatives will improve harm reduction efforts through overdose prevention education, expanded access to Suboxone (an opioid agonist treatment), fostering mentorship, coaching and peer networks, and reducing stigma in the healthcare system.
The Government of Canada works in collaboration with various stakeholders to address the unique needs of the people they serve, help prevent harms related to substance use and, ultimately, improve the health and safety of our communities.