Poisoned Street Drugs are killing people. We all can see the effect and the body counts raising. It is also becoming more evident that it is having an effect on everyday families. The question is are the government measures helping to find a resolution to the problem? Are increased jail times the answer or in decriminalization going to be the path out of the problem? One major answer is limiting the stigma of addiction and mental health. The stigma could be the blocker to addicts finding the help they and the end of the street purchase of dangerous drugs.
Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service report on illicit drug-toxicity deaths in May:
“In May, we lost 176 people to the toxic illicit drug supply. My heart goes out to everyone who is grieving the unimaginable loss of a friend, family member, loved one, neighbour or co-worker. Every person lost to a toxic drug poisoning leaves a hole in our communities.
“Every day, I hear stories of the devastating impact the toxic drug crisis is having on families and our communities in B.C. These stories strengthen my resolve to continue working harder every single day to put an end to this crisis.
“A critical part of our work is supporting young people. Wellness promotion, addressing mental-health problems and early intervention can stop small problems from becoming bigger down the road, and the earlier we provide support, the better the outcome. That’s why we’ve made unprecedented investments to expand mental-health and addictions services for youth across the full spectrum of care.
“Just last week, our government opened 24 new youth substance-use treatment and recovery beds in Surrey and Vancouver so more young people can get the help they need. This is just one part of our work, and we will be bringing more services online for youth in the months to come.
“We are also opening Foundry centres in 35 communities throughout the province. These centres connect young people, ages 12 to 24, to vital mental-health, addictions and primary health-care supports. With 15 centres currently open, eight in development and 12 more to come, more young people will be able to access the supports they need, whenever and wherever they need them.
“To meet young people where they are and to wrap support around them, we have been focused on expanding Integrated Child and Youth teams to 20 school districts around the province. Teams are already helping children in five communities, and they are in development in seven more school districts. These teams bring together school districts, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, our health-care system so that there is one door for young people and families to access the kind of help that they need.
“This ongoing public-health emergency is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges this province has faced. We won’t stop working until we have an integrated system of mental-health and addictions services in place to help British Columbians of all ages get the support they need and deserve.”
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