Government of Canada takes further steps to address the opioid crisis in British Columbia
Funding will support education, harm reduction, treatment and research
April 24, 2019 - Vancouver, B.C. - Health Canada
The opioid crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada’s recent history. Tragically, between January 2016 and September 2018 more than 10,300 Canadians died from an apparent opioid-related overdose.
Today the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced funding for new initiatives to increase knowledge about opioid use and treatment, decrease harms associated with opioid use, and enhance access to evidence-based treatment. Minister Petitpas Taylor made the announcement while meeting with representatives of the St. Paul’s Foundation of Vancouver.
New investments totaling $15.3 million announced today include:
- $9.6 million for seven projects that will focus on education and sharing information on effective treatments for opioid use disorder;
- $1.3 million to support four initiatives that will reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis C among people who share drug use equipment, while also linking people to treatment and support services; and
- $4.4 million to support four research projects to develop innovative, effective treatment options tailored to B.C. communities and Indigenous people.
The funding announced today builds on recent investments to increase access to treatment services for Canadians who are seeking help for problematic substance use. In September 2018, the governments of Canada and British Columbia signed a bilateral agreement under the Government of Canada’s Emergency Treatment Fund committing more than $71.7 million for innovative and comprehensive treatment options in the province.
“This crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada’s recent history, and organizations on the ground can help us turn the tide of it. That’s why we are investing further in them. We know there is no silver bullet solution to this crisis, and the services and education these organizations offer are crucial. We must continue to work all together to save lives.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“St. Paul’s Hospital happens to sit at the epicentre of the opioid crisis in Vancouver, which has given us both a unique perspective and a profound responsibility. We know that research, outreach, and education will significantly reduce harm, yield financial savings and, most importantly, improve and save the lives of individuals, families, and communities affected by substance use across Canada.”
President and CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation
Budget 2018 committed more than $230 million over five years to address the opioid crisis. This funding included $150 million for a cost-shared Emergency Treatment Fund.
Through Budget 2019, the Government of Canada is committing an additional $30.5 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, with $1 million in ongoing funding, for targeted measures to address persistent gaps in harm reduction and treatment.
Since June 2017, data reported to Health Canada indicate that there have been more than 327,000 visits to supervised consumption sites and overdose prevention sites across Canada, without a single death in the facilities and almost 3,600 reported overdoses reversed.
Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Canada is investing in researchers who are helping to provide evidence on which interventions work best to prevent opioid overdoses, how to treat opioid use disorder and how to promote harm reduction.
Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) provides approximately $50 million annually to support initiatives that help prevent, treat and reduce all forms of harm from problematic substance use, including opioids, cannabis, alcohol and tobacco.
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Harm Reduction Fund is investing $7 million annually to support projects across Canada that will help reduce rates of HIV and hepatitis C among people who use drugs.
The Government of Canada is running a national public awareness campaign on opioids. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with opioids, the stigma that prevents people who use drugs from receiving help, and what to do if you witness an opioid overdose.
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
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