September 20, 2018 6:52 pm

Kennedy Stewart set to launch DTES task force to tackle opioid crisis if elected mayor

A man walks past a mural by street artist Smokey D. painted as a response to the fentanyl and opioid overdose crisis, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.


Vancouver’s front-runner Kennedy Stewart says if elected as mayor, he’s going to immediately launch a Downtown Eastside task force to tackle the opioid crisis.

But it seems many of his ideas are already in the works.

Those ideas include support for front-line workers, substance substitution programs and expanding treatment, none of it new.

Stewart was asked several times what would be different if he becomes mayor.

“Whatever is done in the past, we have to do better. We have hundreds of people that are dying here, and so it’s not good enough. We have to do better; that’s what this task force will do, that’s why it’s an ’emergency’ task force.”

READ MORE: Opioid overdoses killed more than 1,000 Canadians in the first quarter of 2018

Stewart would like to negotiate a new Vancouver Agreement which expired in 2010, an agreement that works with all levels of government to support a local community solution.

Earlier this year, Ottawa announced $71 million in funding to B.C. to fight the opioid crisis.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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