Pending cuts could cripple fentanyl fight

published on April 13, 2017 by Chelsea Novak - Castlegar News in Arrow Lakes News

In the midst of the fentanyl crisis, a local organization that provides overdose training and harm reduction is bracing for the loss of a major chunk of its funding.

ANKORS (AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society) was founded in 1992 at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis and provides services around HIV and Hepatitis C, harm reduction and prevention education. Originally established in Castlegar, the organization now has offices in Cranbrook and Nelson, and between the two may soon lose five employees and a significant part of its funding.

ANKORS has two major funding sources: Interior Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Interior Health funds ANKORS’ support worker, outreach worker and its community care team, while PHAC funds ANKORS’ Hepatitis C education and support program, its HIV prevention and support program and its Rise Up Community Engagement program, “which addresses barriers to health care and services for people who are living with HIV and/or Hep C and who are at significant risk and who use drugs.”

PHAC has been funding ANKORS for over 20 years, but in September 2016, when PHAC announced the successful applicants to its new HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund (CAF), ANKORS was not among the successful applicants.

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