Government launches newly formed Joint Task Force to respond to overdose problem

Photo by Province of British Columbia, Flickr

VANCOUVER, B.C. – With BC facing a staggering increase in drug overdoses, the BC government has launched a new Joint Task Force to try and respond to the issue.

Premier Christy Clark announced today that the Task Force will be led by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall and Clayton Pecknold, director of police services.

She said other members are still being decided on, but they will include people from BC Centre of Disease Control and the ministries of Health and Public Safety.

Dr. Kendall declared a public health emergency in April 2016 due to overdoses. They have since been sharing information between organizations such as health authorities, emergency staff, as well as first responders.

The government says that the Task Froce will provide leadership and action.

“The new task force will provide expert leadership and advice to the Province on additional actions to prevent and respond to overdoses in British Columbia. It will work closely with the BC Drug Overdose and Alert Partnership and senior police officials to build and strengthen the actions already in place to prevent drug overdoses.”

Premier Clark says this is a step in the right direction, even with Canada being a leading country in addressing these issues.

“While we are leading the country in addressing this issue, families are still losing loved ones to senseless and tragic drug overdoses. This task force will help the Province take the additional steps needed to get drugs like fentanyl off the street, get people the treatment they need and keep families healthy and safe.”