PAN welcomes Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy’s announcement of a Provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre and the potential impact it could have on people living in British Columbia. We hope that this multi-sectoral response that is region-specific and guided by people who use drugs and those with lived experience may shift the devastation of the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Today’s announcement was not tied to any specific funding announcement.
PAN recognizes the key importance of the work being done by member and allied organizations on the front-lines in addressing this ongoing public health crisis. We are encouraged by the stated commitment to engage with community-based organizations, as well as with the leadership of people with lived experience in informing the roll out of this new integrated model. We are also pleased to hear the government will establish region-specific responses in partnership with each health authority, with due concern towards the needs of rural and remote communities. Emphasis on a multi-sectoral collaboration and response will best help those at risk for overdose in BC.
Minister Darcy made the announcement about the Provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre earlier today. The Provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre will be housed at Vancouver General Hospital and will work in collaboration with five regional response centres dedicated to region-specific needs in each health authority. Dr. Patricia Daly, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal, will serve at the Centre’s Executive Director and Clinical Lead in establishing the Centre and working with regional health authorities to set up their teams. Miranda Compton, familiar to many of us due to her years of work in relation to STOP HIV/AIDS, has been seconded from her role at Vancouver Coastal Health and will be playing a key role in moving the work of the Centre forward.
The Centre’s work will emphasize a multi-sectoral approach to work at the community-based level and will also coordinate across provincial, health authority, municipal, Indigenous and law enforcement sectors.
This morning at a Technical Briefing, Opioid Overdose Secretariat staff shared that the new approach is designed to improve not only the emergency response to BC’s opioid crisis, but to develop a sustainable supportive system of care. Staff shared that this approach and aims include:
- Access to naloxone supply, distribution, and capacity building to ensure there are people and treatments to respond to overdose in emergency situations
- The establishment of more overdose prevention sites to attempt to decrease instances where people are using alone
- Working with community groups and services to identify those most at risk for overdose and connecting these folks with care and support services
- Strengthening the continuum of treatment and recovery, including access to evidence-based treatments and a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management
- Social stabilization of individuals using a social determinants of health approach. This will include relationship-based connections (family, friends), structures (support groups and healing circles, for example), housing stabilization and income stabilization
- Peer leadership and inclusion of people with lived experience in program planning and guidance to most effectively direct and strengthen responses to this crisis
- Services that are culturally competent and safe
- Addressing stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs
PAN looks forward to supporting the roll out of this initiative however we can, including liaising with Secretariat and Centre staff to ensure the timely dissemination of information and related resources as they become available.
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!Jennifer Evin Jones, Executive Director, [email protected]