Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service’s report on illicit drug-toxicity deaths in April:
“In April, we lost 206 people to the toxic illicit drug supply. These were friends, family, neighbours and co-workers, and my heart goes out to all of the loved ones left behind in the wake of the toxic drug crisis.
“This crisis continues to take its toll in every part of our province, and I am grateful for the dedicated work of front-line workers and peers who save lives every day, and answer the call when people in our province need them.
“Our government is building an integrated health-care system to ensure people have access to the treatment and recovery services they need when they make the brave decision to reach out for help. We are building new treatment centres, community recovery sites and a new model of care at St. Paul’s Hospital so people can move seamlessly through detox to recovery.
“Drug use is often the symptom of many underlying causes, including trauma. That’s why our government is expanding supports for youth in our province so that we can stop little problems from becoming bigger problems later in their lives. We want our young people to get the best possible start in life.
“Our government is expanding Foundry centres to 12 more communities around the province to support youth, from 12 to 24 years, with mental- and primary-health care. These new centres will add to the 15 already open and the eight being developed, so that young people struggling with mental-health and addictions challenges can access the supports they need whenever and wherever they need them in our province. Foundry is a beacon for our young people, a welcome and friendly space where they can get the help they need to live a good life. With 35 centres throughout British Columbia when complete, they will continue to help even more youth in our communities.
“Earlier this week, I visited Westminster House Society in New Westminster to see how they provide their critical services to girls and women who are struggling with addiction. Our government is providing new funding to Westminster House so that more girls and women have access to treatment and recovery services in their community.
“Our government is also expanding harm-reduction measures like drug checking, overdose prevention sites and naloxone kits because keeping people alive is the first step in helping them access health care and treatment.
“Together, these supports are a small part of our government’s commitment to building an integrated system of mental-health and addiction services, one where people can find the services they need, no matter where they are on their treatment and recovery journey.”