Two months ago the federal government committed $10-million to the province to fight the opioid crisis and help with emergency response, but the city of Vancouver says the money has yet to be allocated.
With overdose deaths continuing across the region, what’s the hold-up?
B.C.’s provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says it was unclear when the money could be spent.
“We were waiting to find out whether that was money that could be spent last fiscal year or this fiscal year. It was clarified it’s for the fiscal year of 2017.”
Then the joint drug task force decided how the money would be allocated.
“All of it is basically going to increase access or create pathways for people into treatment. Some of it is going to increase testing capacity at the toxicology labs so we know what drugs we are dealing with,” says Kendall.
“Some of it will go to capital investments that are needed to open up supervised consumption sites. And the largest piece of the $10-million, $7-million will be going to improving access to addictions treatment.”
In Vancouver, staff are suggesting $8-million should go to providing immediate injectable therapy and social supports for patients.
Asked when the money would start to flow, Kendall couldn’t say.