Vancouver City Council has approved the first round of new funding aimed at fighting the opioid overdose epidemic.
The $2.2-million in spending comes from a $3.5-million pool the city allocated last month when it approved a new 0.5% property tax to fight the drug crisis.
The biggest line item approved is $1.9-million to cover a mobile medic unit operating out of Firehall #2. That team has been operating 24 hours a day since December.
$208,000 was green lit to open a new Community Policing Centre in Strathcona, along with another $220,000 for the city’s 11 existing facilities.
A further $10,000 for mental health, addictions, and Naloxone training, was also approved.
City of Vancouver staff are expected to return to council in the coming weeks with a plan for the remaining $1.3-million in funding, which will be targeted at programs that support front-line peer workers.
215 people died of illicit drug overdoses in Vancouver last year, the most of any municipality in B.C.
Across the province, 914 people lost their lives to drugs in 2016.