New Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions aims to tackle B.C.’s opioid crisis

Challenges for B.C.’s new mental health and addictions ministry
Tue, Jul 18: Included in John Horgan’s cabinet is a new ministry – one that will deal specifically with mental health and addictions. Aaron McArthur looks at what actions may be included in the new strategy.

At Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony in Victoria, B.C. Premier John Horgan introduced his new cabinet, which includes a brand-new ministry aimed at tackling the province’s opioid crisis.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction will be helmed by former health critic Judy Darcy.

It could prove to be the provincial government’s most complex file.

WATCH: Premier John Horgan delivers message to British Columbians

Premier John Horgan delivers message to British Columbians
Premier John Horgan delivers message to British Columbians

Following Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, Darcy said the new ministry will aim to create a “consistent, seamless system of mental health and addiction so that when people ask for help, they get treatment quickly.”

Story continues below advertisement


But Darcy admits she has a lot of work to do.

“I’ll be getting my briefing binder tomorrow,” she said. “I haven’t see that yet. I was just asked to take on this responsibility yesterday.”

READ MORE: Incoming Premier John Horgan outlines list of priorities

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall has questioned whether a new ministry dedicated to mental health and addiction will help, saying it could just add another layer of bureaucracy to an issue that is already drowning in red tape.

Deborah Conner of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society is cautiously optimistic, saying a new ministry, at the very least, could provide a measure of financial accountability.

“It would be really nice to know specifically what dollars are going to mental health and addictions,” she said.

– With files from Aaron McArthur and The Canadian Press