As the City of Vancouver reviews its current position in the opioid overdose crisis at City Hall Tuesday, the Vancouver Police Department has released its mid-term strategy, taking the department into 2021.
The six-point plan was compiled from surveys of Vancouver residents, businesses and visitors.
Chief Adam Palmer says the approach will be multi-faceted, with connections to mental health, community, and First Nations resources.
It will also ensure front-line officers are appropriately equipped to respond to overdoses, by giving them naloxone.
On the subject of battling the drug epidemic on Vancouver streets, Palmer says it’s all about targeting the top tier of operators.
“You take out a large quantity of drugs like that, like 56 kilograms of cocaine; by the time that that is stepped on and cut and moved on to the street level, that would work out to, you know, hundreds – perhaps thousands of dealers that would be trafficking that. So if you take it off at the higher level, you’re basically cutting off the supply chain for many people.”
The VPD will also be conducting a review of its staffing resources – something that hasn’t been done in about a decade.
“We just started on that in the Fall. We’ve already done our patrol areas, which is our front line response, and now we’re working on the investigation division and some of the administrative areas behind the scenes, because if we do need more resources, I want to build a proper business case.”
As assessments continue, Palmer says it’s too early to attach any kind of cost to potential restructuring.