B.C. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy speaks to reporters at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 24, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

B.C.’s overdose death rate is declining in large part because of more effective intervention, including prescription medications to get people off a “poisoned, unregulated drug supply,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says.

The 2019 total of 981 deaths from mostly opioid street drugs is down significantly from 1,542 deaths the previous year, due to more overdose reversing kits and a significant increase in prescribed substitutes for the deadly fentanyl and other street opioids, Darcy told reporters at the B.C. legislature Monday.

Pilot projects to help people get off the streets in Abbotsford and Vernon are also showing results, she said.

“These are pilot projects that involve police working in partnership with a team of peers, people who have used drugs in the past or are still living with addiction but are may be on safe prescription medication,” Darcy said. “And they are connecting people directly to the social supports they need, like housing, as well as treatment and recovery. We have remarkable success so far in Abbotsford. We want to learn from that pilot project and look at how we can expand that across the province.”

RELATED: Too soon for drug decriminalization, federal minister says

RELATED: ‘They were loved’: Illicit drug overdoses kill 981 in 2019

While the federal government keeps street drugs illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, Darcy said prescription alternatives have expanded to 3,500 people since the B.C. NDP government took office in 2017. That includes three types of methadone, the traditional heroin substitute, as well as suboxone and hydromorphone, a prescription opioid marketed as Dilaudid among other brands.

A further expansion of B.C.’s injectable opioid drugs program is expected shortly, with the federal government taking part, Darcy said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureopioid crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Some Smithers businesses may re-open sooner rather than later

Weekly Chamber of Commerce video conference focuses on business concern amid COVID-19

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read