Vancouver, November 1: An all-party committee at British Columbia’s legislature has released a report on drug toxicity and overdose deaths that calls for dozens of urgent steps from the province to address the deadly crisis.
The more than three dozen recommendations include ensuring continuity of care for at-risk people, expanding a take-home naloxone program, and engaging with health-care providers to reduce barriers in prescribing a safe supply of drugs.
The report also seeks a “substantial increase” in funding for recovery and detox programs, while recommending overdose and mental health calls be redirected from police to more specialized responders whenever possible.
The committee says since beginning work in April, it heard stories of “agony, frustration and hope” from almost 1,000 oral and written submissions, and that the crisis represents a “staggering loss.”
The report notes several organizations and individuals, including provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, believed the government could “scale-up” its response to the heartbreaking emergency.
The report notes inequity in when and where drug users can get help.
Sheila Malcolmson, the minister responsible for mental health and addictions, acknowledged when it comes to getting help when and where drug users need it, the system falls short.