An all-party committee has given 37 recommendations to the provincial government regarding the drug toxicity and overdose crisis.
“There is no one-size-fits-all response to this crisis. The committee wants to see significant investments across the entire continuum of care – from prevention and education to treatment and recovery – as well as ongoing evaluation and monitoring to ensure results are achieved,” said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, the deputy chair of the committee.
The recommendations fall under nine categories:
- Overarching Government Response
- Prevention and Education
- Harm Reduction
- Safer Supply
- Treatment and Recovery
- Enforcement and Decriminalization
- Indigenous People
- Additional Measures
The committee asked the public for its input on the crisis through public hearings and letters.
They received 881 written submissions from across the province and had 118 presenters speak to them, ranging from support groups to federal and provincial briefings.
“We heard that some British Columbians are not able to access life-saving supports and services, either because they aren’t available in their community or because of other barriers,” said Vancouver-Hastings MLA Niki Sharma, the committee chair.
“The committee’s report makes recommendations to further scale up government’s response to ensure that all British Columbians can access high-quality substance-use support and care when they need it.”
The report states that in the six years since 2016 when drug related deaths were declared a public health emergency in the province, 10,000 people across the province have died to toxic drugs.
“Over the past five years, our government has been building a system of mental-health and substance-use care; one that didn’t exist prior to 2017. From investments into new treatment, more supports for young people and new overdose prevention measures, our government has scaled up and expanded access to make sure when people ask for help, services are available for them,” said Sheila Malcolmson, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a news release.
“I am grateful to the committee for their hard work on this complex and evolving public-health emergency. Thanks also to the nearly 1,000 people, organizations and subject-matter experts who shared their advice and personal experience with the committee.”
For the full report, click here.