Vancouver City Council to discuss next steps to tackle opioid crisis

Jan 24 2017, 6:31 pm

Vancouver City Council will meet today to discuss the next steps to tackle the city’s ongoing opioid crisis.

A report by the City of Vancouver, outlines a set of recommendations to deal with the crisis, including continuing Vancouver Fire Rescue Services’ deployment of a three-person medic unit, establishing a new Community Policing Centre in the Strathcona neighbourhood, and expanding naloxone administration and mental health and addiction training for City and Parks staff.

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The report also provided the estimated costs of the 2017 implementation plan.

Estimated costs for City of Vancouver’s opioid crisis spending (City of Vancouver)

“This week, Council is considering up to $3.5 million in practical and immediate measures to fight the fentanyl opioid crisis on the front lines and save lives,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.

“It has never been more urgent to act. This intense frequency of overdose response is unsustainable, overwhelming our first responders, front line workers and community volunteers.”

In 2016, the City of Vancouver announced a 0.5% increase on property tax in order to provide more funds to support front line services to combat the fentanyl overdose crisis.

Last week, the BC Coroner’s Service revealed that 142 people died of illicit drug use in the province during December 2016.

Image: BC Coroners Service

The number was the highest ever recorded for a single month in BC. The December deaths bring the total for 2016 to 914, a staggering 80% increase on 2015’s statistics.