Includes $10 million in urgent support for British Columbia emergency response efforts
RICHMOND, BC, Feb. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - The current overdose crisis is having a devastating impact in many communities. Today, the Government of Canada announced an additional $65 million over five years for national measures to respond to the opioid crisis and implement the government's Opioid Action Plan. In addition, the federal government will provide $10 million in urgent support to the Province of British Columbia to assist with its response to the overwhelming effects of the emergency in that province.
Canada's opioid crisis is multifaceted. First, the overdose crisis has been driven by the emergence of fentanyl and other powerful illicit opioid drugs, which has led to unprecedented number of deaths among users of illegal drugs. And second, high levels of addiction to legal opioids across Canada have been caused, in part, by inappropriate prescribing practices and poor education about the risks associated with opioids. The government's Opioid Action Plan, including the new resources announced today, addresses both of these aspects of the crisis.
The Government of Canada has already taken numerous steps to address the crisis, including making naloxone readily available, overturning the ban on the use of prescription heroin to treat the most severe cases of addiction, and introducing Bill C-37 to simplify and streamline the application process for supervised consumption sites.
The Government of Canada remains committed to a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based approach to addressing this crisis and the underlying causes of problematic substance use over the long term.
- In addition, the Government of Canada's contribution of $65 million over five years will be used to support the federal government's ongoing implementation of the Opioid Action Plan and the new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy announced in December 2016, which reinstates harm reduction as a core pillar of Canada's drug policy. This funding could be used towards: increasing national lab testing capacity; developing and implementing a national public awareness campaign; increasing research on problematic substance use; expanding supports for First Nations and Inuit communities, such as access to naloxone kits; strengthening national data surveillance and monitoring; and, funding grants and contributions to address various issues that are unique to the opioid crisis.
"Our government is committed to providing those working on the ground in the fight against the opioid crisis with the tools and resources they need to turn the tide. Today's announcement is just part of our ongoing commitments to exhaust every possible avenue in addressing this crisis."
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
"The opioid crisis is having devastating impacts in Canada. When faced with such a grave situation, we must work with our partners and provide tangible aid. This funding will address an urgent need and support an important line of defence in keeping B.C. communities safe."
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"We have been fighting hard in B.C. to save lives from the opioid epidemic sweeping our province, and the new federal funding announced today will provide much-needed help on this front. The new federal investment for a national strategy on the opioid crisis shows they continue to take this issue seriously."
BC Minister of Health
Backgrounder - The New Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy
Opioid Action Plan
Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709