Our View: More aid welcome on opiods

The provincial government announced a boost in funding this week for one of the organizations trying to aid addicts.

Health Minister Terry Lake announced $5 million of extra funding for the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and an additional $1.9 million for ongoing operations funding.

It’s that last that will be key going forward.

The BCCSU has developed new clinical treatment guidelines for opioid addicts, to go into effect later this spring. The use of opioids – heroin and related prescription drugs – has been the gateway for drug dealers to mix fentanyl and carfentanil into their product. Even tiny doses of fentanyl can prove fatal, and hundreds of addicts and casual drug users have died in the last year in B.C.

The BCCSU does the high-level work, academic work that helps support and train the medical professionals who combat drug addiction on a daily basis.

The province has also expanded access to naloxone, which can save people in an overdose, and expanded access to addiction supports.

But, as always, there is more that could be done.

Drug treatment needs to be widely expanded. Naloxone can save lives – but it does little to get people clear of the tainted heroin that almost killed them.

As usual with a provincial government in the run-up to an election, the Liberals are flinging money at multiple targets. Also as usual, they prefer large, empty structures – bridges and highways – to ones that will require staff, like hospitals and clinics.

Unfortunately, there’s likely no way out of B.C.’s addiction crisis without spending some money on hiring more doctors, nurses, counsellors, and other professionals to staff the front lines.

– M.C.



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