NANAIMO – Nanaimo is one of 18 B.C. communities that are getting an on-the-ground Community Action Team (CAT) and dedicated funding as part of the Province’s escalated response to the overdose crisis.
“I have spoken to too many families who have lost loved ones to the overdose crisis, so this team is desperately needed in our community,” said Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog. “Our government is committed to doing everything we can to prevent more deaths and get people the support they need to overcome addiction.”
The CAT is provided with an initial grant of funding of up to $100,000 to get it started, and may be eligible for future funding from a Community Crisis Response Grant, which is part of the government’s three-year, $322 million investment to address the overdose crisis.
“We have organizations in Nanaimo already doing important work on the ground,” said Krog. “The Community Action Team will play a critical role by working with those organizations and directing resources where they’re needed most.”
The Nanaimo team will work with existing community partners and with the new Overdose Emergency Response Centre in Vancouver. The CAT will intervene early to deliver proactive and comprehensive care and support to people at risk of overdose.
The Community Action Team will focus on four areas of action to save lives and support people with addictions on a pathway to treatment and recovery:
- Expanding community-based harm-reduction services.
- Increasing the availability of naloxone.
- Addressing the unsafe drug supply through expanded drug-checking services and increasing connections to addiction-treatment medications.
- Proactively supporting people at risk of overdose by intervening early to provide services like treatment and housing.
Eighteen communities in total are the first to receive the support of on-the-ground CAT teams. These were the communities identified through the Overdose Emergency Response Centre’s data as having the most urgent need, though teams will be established in other communities as the need is identified.
The Community Action Teams are the latest in a series of initiatives already in place to respond to the overdose crisis. Other initiatives include:
- broader access to naloxone kits,
- expanding access to opioid substitution medications to treat opioid addiction,
- opening more overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites,
- expanding access to drug checking services,
- proactively identifying and supporting people at risk of overdose,
- and improving the system of treatment and recovery services.
Together, these initiatives will save lives, and ensure that people get the support and treatment they need, when they need it.
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions Press Release on the Community Action Teams: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MMHA0002-000137
Overdose Emergency Response Centre: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose/how-the-province-is-responding