EDITORIAL: Opioid support welcome news

published on February 12, 2017 in The Morning Star

The provincial government is boosting funding for one of the organizations trying to aid addicts.

Health Minister Terry Lake has announced $5 million of extra funding for the B.C. Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and an additional $1.9 million for ongoing operations funding.

It’s that last part that will be key going forward.

The BCCSU has developed new clinical treatment guidelines for opioid addicts, to go into effect later this spring. The use of opioids – heroin and related prescription drugs – has been the gateway for drug dealers to mix fentanyl and carfentanil into their product.

The province has also expanded access to naloxone, which can save people in an overdose, and expanded access to addiction supports. But, as always, there is more that could be done.

Drug treatment needs to be widely expanded. Naloxone can save lives – but it does little to get people clear of the tainted heroin that almost killed them.

As usual with a provincial government in the run-up to an election, the Liberals are flinging money at multiple targets. Also as usual, they prefer large, empty structures – bridges and highways – to ones that will require staff, like hospitals and clinics.

Unfortunately, there’s likely no way out of B.C.’s addiction crisis without spending some money on hiring more doctors, nurses, counsellors, and other professionals to staff the front lines.

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