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Minister’s statement on lives lost to poisoned drugs in April

June 6, 2024 at 11:26 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service report on illicit drug toxicity deaths in April 2024:

“With the latest report from the BC Coroners Service, today we face with a heavy heart the tragic loss of 182 people due to toxic-drug poisonings in our province. This is more than just a number as each person was irreplaceable to their families, friends, coworkers and neighbours.

“Each of these lives matters. There are not enough words to bring comfort to those who are grieving and to everyone in every corner of our province and across the country who has experienced a preventable loss of a loved one due to toxic drugs.

“We are continuing to work urgently to save lives and connect people to care that meets their needs. When someone makes the brave decision to seek treatment, they need immediate, connected supports. Waiting for services can be deadly for someone with addiction challenges. That’s why we are building an integrated mental-health and addictions system to ensure people have access to the right treatment and recovery services for them – where and when they need it.

“We’re also supporting evidence-based models of care like Red Fish Healing Centre, which treats mental-health and addiction challenges together for people with the most complex needs. At the same time, we’re working to expand access to early intervention and prevention services, so people can manage mental-health and addiction challenges before they become roadblocks.

“We recently announced the expansion of the Hope to Health clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to help more vulnerable people get the care and support they need to find and maintain a treatment plan that works for them. This model provides holistic and compassionate care, and is already making a meaningful difference in the community.

“And B.C.’s first chief scientific advisor for psychiatry, toxic drugs and concurrent disorders, Dr. Daniel Vigo, is leading work to improve care for people with overlapping mental-health and addiction challenges, as well as brain injuries. These people have unique, complex needs and often face extreme challenges that impact their ability to care for themselves or get the care they need.

“We’re taking action to build up services that we know work for people and we’ll continue to look for more ways to connect people to the care they need. Because for as many pathways as there are into addiction, we need just as many pathways toward healing and recovery.”

Learn More:

To learn more about updated actions on the drug-poisoning response, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/escalated-drug-poisoning-response-actions-1

For a list of mental-health and addictions resources and services, visit: https://helpstartshere.gov.bc.ca/

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