26 Apr BC Election 2017: How Each Party Plans to Take on the Fentanyl Crisis
With 120 overdose deaths in March of this year alone, it’s obvious that BC is still suffering through the worst drug epidemic the province has ever seen. The fentanyl crisis has reached a point where it’s a household topic of conversation and rightfully so. When an average of four people are dying from overdoses each day, it’s time to start taking a serious look at what’s going on. The 2017 BC Election is coming up in a few weeks and as an interventionist, I was curious about each party’s plan to deal with this problem. All facts below were taken directly from each respective party’s official platform package.
Christy Clark and the incumbent BC Liberals were the first provincial government in Canada to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency and invested $100 million dollars in an expert Joint Task Force to study the problem. Other strategies in their platform include: establishing a BC Centre on Substance Use, increasing access and coverage for opioid substitutes like suboxone to help addicts as they transition off of illicit drugs, funding $10 million for residential and intensive out-patient recovery services, making 30,000 free naloxone kits available, and pledging $165 million for youth mental health services.
BC Green Party
The platform of the BC Green Party focuses on mental health and addictions with plans to “develop an immediate response to the fentanyl crisis based on successful programs in Europe that invest in treatment on demand, drug substitution, early-warning monitoring systems, and coordinated response.” This includes allowing addicts greater access to diacetylmorphine, the medical term for prescription heroin. This support is one of the Green’s biggest differences from the Liberals and NDP. Other promises include establishing a ministry for mental health and addictions, allocating $80 million towards early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, more supervised injection sites, and creating centres for mental health and rehabilitation in communities across the province.
Similar to Andrew Weaver and the Green Party, John Horgan and the BC NDP party feels the health care system is fragmented and plans to create a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to ensure treatment is available to everyone who needs it. Other highlights of their platform include greater availability for naloxone kits, more police support to break up drug rings, and an “Ask Once, Get Help Fast” approach to mental health and addictions, which will make sure people aren’t waiting months for care.
It’s interesting to see how each party in BC is approaching this massive problem that now ranks right up there with the economy and housing crisis. Once upon a time, substance abuse and drug addiction was something that was swept under the rug, but now each of these parties appears to be willing to tackle the opioid crisis head on and provide genuine help for people. Regardless of who’s elected on May 9th or which policies come into effect, please remember that my team of professional drug and alcohol interventionists and I are always here to help anyone struggling with addiction. For a free consultation on my family intervention or counselling services, contact me today.