VICTORIA, B.C. – More residents in British Columbia will now have access to life-saving overdose prevention, treatment, and supports as part of the $10.5 million in funding that will work on accelerating the response to increasingly toxic illicit drug supply due to COVID-19.

The funding will help proportion overdose prevention services like helping to expand access to safe prescription alternatives that will separate people from toxic street drugs. The funding will also add new outreach teams to work on preventing overdose deaths, save lives, and connect people to treatment and recovery throughout the province.

To help reduce the number of people who use alone, funds will also be used to open 17 new supervised consumption services as well as 12 new inhalation services in communities that have been hit the hardest by the overdose crisis.

The fund will also help to expand access to safe prescription alternatives for people with a high risk of overdoses. Nurses will be added to various communities to conduct patient assessments. This will help prescribers, pharmacists, and care teams in getting medications to the right people to stabilize and stay safe.

New full-time registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, and peer support workers will be added to 14 new and existing interdisciplinary outreach teams across the province.

With these new workers, 42 in total, working in teams of three, they will help to connect people with substance-use challenges, like using drugs alone, to treatment, recovery, and services that will suit their needs best.

Expanding overdose prevention services and working to connect people to treatment and other supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C’s roadmap for making mental health and addictions better for people in the province.

More information can be found on A Pathway to Hope’s website.