Powell River – Powell River is one of 18 B.C. communities that are getting a Community Action Team (CAT) and dedicated funding as part of the Province’s escalated response to the overdose crisis.
“The overdose crisis deeply affects families and communities across B.C. and North America,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “Our new government is determined to provide a strong and direct response, and this Community Action Team is the local face of that.”
The CAT is provided with an initial grant 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.
“The Community Action Team will play a crucial role in Powell River by targeting resources where they’re needed most,” said Simons. “Through the team’s work, more people will be connected to treatment and recovery sooner.”
The Powell River team will work with existing community partners and with the new Overdose Emergency Response Centre in Vancouver. The CAT will work to 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 local 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
- 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