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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Drivesmart column: Are we perpetuating mediocrity with how we teach young drivers?

If the teacher is ill equipped to teach, the new driver will not learn what is necessary

Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery sharing wealth of online art

The CVPAG page will feature new artists and galleries every two weeks

Mary Lowther column: The beauty of Lady Godivas from the garden

So THAT’S where my Lady Godiva pumpkins went!

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Most Read