Agreement Raises Canadian Investment in Substance Abuse Treatment

"The opioid crisis continues to have a profound impact on thousands of people and their families across the country. I am pleased that we have signed this agreement with the government of British Columbia to help accelerate access to treatment services," said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada's minister of Health.

Canada's federal government and the government of British Columbia announced they have signed an agreement under the government of Canada's new Emergency Treatment Fund that will provide $71.7 million — $33.98 million from the government of Canada and $37.76 million from British Columbia — to increase access to quality treatment services for substance use disorder.

The opioid crisis is a national public health crisis in the country, with opioid overdoses killing nearly 4,000 Canadians in 2017. Without increased access to effective, evidence-based treatment options, people with substance use disorder will continue to be at risk for overdose, according to Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada's minister of Health, and Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions in British Columbia.

The funding includes investments in youth services provided by Foundry, which offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services, and support; expanding injectable opioid agonist treatment; supporting treatment beds; investing in "hope" initiatives designed to improve local-level capacity to connect individuals with the treatment options appropriate to their unique needs; developing strategies to enhance and improve treatment services; and more.

"The opioid crisis continues to have a profound impact on thousands of people and their families across the country. I am pleased that we have signed this agreement with the government of British Columbia to help accelerate access to treatment services. With the Emergency Treatment Fund, our government is helping to ensure that innovative and comprehensive treatment options are available for Canadians who want and need them. I look forward to signing the remaining bilateral agreements in the coming months," said Taylor.

"Today's agreement with the federal government will help to save lives as we continue to work together to combat the overdose crisis," Darcy said. "In British Columbia, we are escalating our response to this crisis every single day. Lives are being saved every day at overdose prevention sites, by connecting people to treatment, by expanding the available treatment options, and by training more prescribers. We will continue to build a system where people who need help can receive it quickly and where addiction is no longer treated as a moral failure tainted by shame, but as the health issue that it is."

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