Health Canada announces $11.78 million in funding to help support people who use substances in British Columbia 


May 2022

To help support the response to the overdose crisis and address harms related to substance use and the toxic illegal drug supply, over the last two years, the Government of Canada has dedicated over $182 million to Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), and recently proposed another $100 million through Budget 2022. $11.78 million in funding has been granted to 14 innovative community-led projects in British Columbia.  

With this funding, these projects will help to improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms and overdose by scaling up prevention, harm reduction and treatment efforts across British Columbia.

Funding is provided through the Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), which supports evidence-informed and innovative initiatives across a range of interventions—health promotion, prevention, harm reduction and treatment—targeting a broad range of legal and illegal substances.

Community projects expanding access to a safer drug supply

Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment Carry Doses (iCarries): Individualizing care and supporting continuity of care
University of British Columbia (School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine) – Vancouver, BC

$237,458 over 16 months to promote, expand and evaluate the uptake of injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT) carry doses (iCarries) with a person-centred care approach. Results from this program will inform the expansion of iOAT services in BC and across Canada.

Community projects helping to address and prevent substance use-related harms through peer support and capacity building

ANKORS Rise Up: Harm Reduction Education, Peer Leadership and Health Navigation Project – Nelson, BC

$409,985 to continue to reach under served populations of people who use drugs through harm reduction and overdose prevention education and training videos, including people in rural communities, Indigenous and Métis people, 2SLGBTQIA+ people and youth. The additional funding will extend the project by nine months, increase the availability of peer navigators, and enhance harm reduction, outreach and community coordination services. This is in addition to the $554,000 the project has already received from SUAP.

Peer 2 Peer Support
BC Centre for Disease Control – Vancouver, BC

$382,340 to help further engage peer first responders with lived experiences in overdose response and to help develop implement and evaluate a peer-led model of supports addressing issues of stress management, trauma, and burnout. This additional funding will scale-up this initiative to cover all health authority regions in the province of British Columbia. This is in addition to the $774,850 the project has already received from SUAP.

Trauma at the Root: Exploring Paths to Healing with Formerly Incarcerated Men
University of BC – Vancouver, BC

$17,700 to train peers on stigma and resilience and to engage formerly incarcerated men to explore the relationship between trauma and substance use to inform policies, programs, and practices. This is in addition to the $558,180 already received from SUAP.  

Northern Network of Peers for Equality (NOPE)
Northern Network of Peers for Equality – Quesnel, BC 

$419,790 over 18 months to create a team of peer system navigators to provide wraparound harm reduction services for and by people with lived and living experience. The Northern Network of Peers for Equality will engage with hard-to-reach minority populations including BIPOC, LGBTG2S+, people experiencing homelessness, and people who use substances to provide guidance in a range of social and health-related services.

Building Capacity and Moving to Consensus: A Canadian Dialogue on a Public Health Approach to Drugs
Simon Fraser University (Canadian Drug Policy Coalition) – Vancouver, BC

$3,734,504 to continue to bring together people with lived and living experience of substance use, service providers and decision-makers in community dialogues to increase national awareness of drug related issues and build capacity for health promotion and harm reduction systems. This additional funding will also expand Stimulus Connect, which offers networking and learning opportunities for stakeholders in harm reduction and drug policy. This is in addition to the $2,314,862 the project has already received from SUAP.

Community projects helping to address harms related to alcohol use

Cannabis Substitution of Alcohol as a Component of Managed Alcohol Programs: Pilot Intervention and Evaluation
University of Victoria (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research) – Victoria, BC

$1,908,846 over 16 months to pilot and evaluate a cannabis substitution (CS) intervention as a component of Managed Alcohol Programs (MAPs) for people with severe alcohol use disorders experiencing unstable housing. Specifically, this pilot will support the development of CS programs in BC (one project) and Ontario (3 projects) and establish whether these kinds of programs contribute to significant health, safety and well-being improvements of participants. Results from this program will then be used to generate recommendations for the further refinement and scale up opportunities for these kinds of projects.

Updating, Optimizing and Expanding the Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE) Project
University of Victoria (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research) – Victoria, BC

$734,119 over 16 months to update and expand the previously SUAP-funded Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE 2.0) project, which characterizes and systematically evaluates the degree of implementation of provincial, territorial, and federal alcohol policies across 11 evidence-based alcohol policy domains.

A comprehensive online detection and intervention approach to opioid and alcohol use in university students
University of BC – Vancouver, BC

$1,282,810 to develop and implement a comprehensive online approach to screening university students for substance use and mental health issues, with a focus on opioid, alcohol, and cannabis use. Provide coached e-interventions to manage stress, anxiety, depression, risk, and relapse. This additional funding could allow the expansion to two more sites (University of Manitoba and University of Toronto) and add qualitative component to app. This funding would support struggling students during the pandemic (and would offer pre- and post-pandemic data). This is in addition to the $3,260,065 the project has already received from SUAP.

Community projects providing support to people at increased risk of substance-related harms

Culture as Harm Reduction Knowledge Bundles: An Indigenous-Led National Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Initiative
Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation (in partnership with the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network) – Vancouver, BC

$553,354 over 15 months to build the capacity of frontline health care professionals, Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers, and community organizations to provide culturally relevant, strengths based, stigma-free harm reduction services for Indigenous people across Canada. This Indigenous-led project will co-create and nationally disseminate knowledge bundles for Indigenous and non-Indigenous harm reduction organizations filling a gap in the provision of culturally sensitive products for Indigenous Peoples.

Addressing Sexualized Substance Use Among GBT2Q in Canada Through Frontline and Structural Interventions
Community-Based Research Centre Society (CBRC) – Vancouver, BC

$434,533 over 16 months to support the expansion of the PeerNPeer Program, an existing peer-led substance use and sexual health program for gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, and queer people who use drugs, to sites in Winnipeg and Halifax. The program delivers culturally specific harm reduction resources, online self-screening, and peer support services.

Community projects working to increase access to health care systems and provide support to women experiencing chronic pain

Preventing Overdose Deaths by Providing Buprenorphine/Naloxone to High-Risk Emergency Department Patients
University of BC – Vancouver, BC

$1,168,342 to expand access to buprenorphine/naloxone for people with opioid use disorders who present to Emergency Departments with a variety of clinical presentations. This additional funding will expand the program to two more emergency department sites (St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and North-East Health Centre in Edmonton). This is in addition to the $1,289,296 the project has already received from SUAP.

The Best-Practices in Oral Opioid Agonist Therapy (BOOST) Collaborative
St. Paul’s Foundation of Vancouver (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS) – Vancouver, BC

$136,733 to bring together professionals providing oral opioid agonist therapy services in primary care, substance use, mental health, withdrawal management, and outreach settings to develop, implement, measure, and share best practices in oral opioid agonist therapy. This additional funding would allow the project to expand the reach from Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health to add Interior Health region. This is in addition to the $662,824 the project has already received from SUAP.

Chronic Pain and Prescribed Opioid use: Translating Women’s experiences into resources for health care providers
Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health – Vancouver, BC

$366,282 over 16 months to develop gender sensitive resources for Canadian healthcare practitioners and promote practice change for women with chronic pain who receive prescribed opioids.

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