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Mental Health and Addictions

Minister’s statement on illicit drug toxicity death report

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Mental Health and Addictions

Minister’s statement on illicit drug toxicity death report

Media Contacts
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Communications
250 208-8438
Media Contacts
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Communications
250 208-8438

Backgrounders

Key actions to combat the fentanyl poisoning crisis

Since April 2016, efforts to expand Naloxone, overdose prevention/ supervised consumption and connect people to treatment have averted over 5,000 deaths.

Additional actions include:

  • expanding access to first-line medications for opioid use disorder including suboxone, methadone, Metadol-D, compounded methadone and other prescription alternatives;
  • increasing the number of patients prescribed opioid agonist treatment (OAT) by 3,500 since July 2017 (from 19,371 in July 2017 to 22,872 in December 2019); 
  • distributing more Take Home Naloxone kits than ever before:
    • In 2019, 232,312 were shipped throughout the province, compared to 195,696 kits in 2018; 
  • training more prescribers:
    • As of Feb. 1, 2020, more than 490 practitioners have completed training to prescribe opioid agonist treatments including 106 nurse practitioners.
    • In addition, 51 prescribers have completed training in injectable opioid agonist treatment;
  • expanding flexible treatment options:
    • Injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT) is an option for people with severe opioid use disorder who do not respond to other medication options.
    • This year, iOAT will increase capacity up to 40% — from 304 clients across six sites (three in Vancouver, one in Surrey, one in Kelowna and one in Victoria) to more than 420 across eight sites (new sites planned in Vancouver and Fraser Health).
    • Tablet or injectable OAT (TiOAT) is a low-barrier treatment option for people who have not been successful with OAT or iOAT. It gives patients the option to take the medication orally, or crush and then inject the medication under medical supervision. It offers some flexibility around when patients need to come in to take their medication.
    • TiOAT capacity is expanding from 50 patients to 335 in Vancouver and the Interior; 
  • expanding access to addiction treatment through the implementation of Rapid Access to Addictions Care Clinics in all health regions;
  • scaling up access to safer medication-assisted treatment options for people at high risk of overdose through a new partnership with the federal government; 
  • integrating mental-health and addictions services into primary care networks throughout the province;
  • investing in First Nations-led land-based healing;
  • building two new urban Indigenous Treatment Centres, and rebuilding or renovating six more in rural B.C.;
  • funding 35 community action teams throughout the province to escalate evidence-based, local, integrated planning and strategies in response to the overdose crisis;
  • strengthening the quality and consistency of care at supportive recovery homes by increasing provincial oversight and funding more training for operators
  • providing almost $1 million in funding to municipalities for local projects through community wellness grants; and
  • implementing provincial guidelines from the treatment of alcohol use disorder.

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