BC government launches overdose response centre at VGH

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy (left) has announced an Overdose Emergency Response Centre at Vancouver General Hospital. Emily Lazaton / CKNW

The Province of B.C. is taking another step to tackle the opioid crisis.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy was at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) on Friday to unveil the Overdose Emergency Response Centre.

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“Every day, this overdose crisis is devastating families and communities,” Darcy said.

“We are escalating our response, not just to prevent overdose deaths today, but to get at the very heart of the crisis so that no one has to lose another loved one.”

READ MORE: B.C. has already seen more overdose deaths this year than in all of 2016

Provincial and regional teams are using data from the centre and looking at four key areas to prevent more people from dying:

  • Numerous supports for identified drug users like fast-tracked treatment pathways and clinical follow-ups
  • Providing drug checks and Suboxone and hydromorphone substitution treatments
  • Expanding community services like supervised consumption sites
  • Making naloxone more available and training more people to use it

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, will become the centre’s executive director and clinical lead.

READ MORE: B.C.’s overdose crisis is taking its toll on paramedics

This centre is part of the NDP government’s $322 million commitment to fighting the overdose crisis.

In October, the B.C. Coroners Service reported more than 1,000 people have died of an illicit overdose death between January and September – eclipsing 2016’s total of 981.


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