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

Just Posted

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Victoria police make arrest in Centennial Square stabbing

One man was left with non-life-threatening injuries Saturday morning

Visitors and bylaw officers targetted by vandals on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

Tofino mayor condemns vandalism against tourists, says bylaw staff also being targeted

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Thief steals ice cream bars from Oak Bay Dairy Queen

Oak Bay resident out nearly $10,000 as CRA scam strikes again

Most Read