As the province deals with record breaking numbers of overdose deaths related to illicit drugs, one addiction expert says there’s one area where the government is failing to fight the crisis.
“The reality is we need people who have the ability to assess the patient in front of them and make appropriate referrals to different levels of care.”
Marshall Smith, Chair of the BC Recovery Council says the government is investing a lot of money into supervised injection sites and not enough into long term recovery facilities.
He says there’s a lot of money going into preventing death but…
“We’re not really investing in recovery, and we’re not making investments that we need in residential treatment where we can move people out of places like the downtown eastside or the Surrey Strip into environments that are drug free where they can get the type of psychological supports that they need.”
Smith says the province and health authorities need to invest in WAY MORE front line workers — who directly talk to people on the streets — to physically get users direct help.
“We need more outreach workers who have the ability to assist people in getting people into treatment or finding a recovery bed.”
And with more consumption sites in Vancouver and potentially surrey on the way…
“We really need to beef up the horsepower behind treatment and recovery referral.”
128 people died of an illicit drug overdose last month – a record in B.C.
755 people have died so far this year.
In October, Premier Christy Clark said 420 rehab beds will be up and running by early 2017, with a goal of 500 late next year.