Before the pandemic, our efforts to tackle the opioid crisis were making a difference, and we saw the first drop in the rate of overdose deaths since 2012. We had a lot more to do, but things were heading in the right direction. When COVID-19 hit, and the crisis escalated, we responded across the full continuum of care – opening two new treatment facilities and doubling youth treatment beds, increasing overdose prevention services, providing more outreach teams, and giving people greater access to prescription medication alternatives. We are also currently implementing 6 new Assertive Community Treatment teams in communities to provide care for people with severe mental health challenges, and help reduce interactions with police.
A re-elected BC NDP government will move quickly to accelerate B.C.’s response across the full continuum of care, including:
- Building new treatment, recovery, detox and after-care facilities across the province – 800 new treatment beds, for a 30% increase in beds when combined with our existing investments to double youth beds;
- Expanding the range of supportive housing for people who need it by:
- Continuing to build on the success of the 2,800 supportive homes built so far, in communities across the province;
- Developing new Complex Care housing facilities to provide an increased level of support – including more access to nurses and psychiatrists – for BC’s most vulnerable who need even more intensive care than supportive housing provides; and
- Funding new rental supplements to help those who have stabilized in supportive housing and are ready to move into the private rental market, creating space in existing supportive housing to help more people experiencing homelessness who need the on-site supports.
- Investing in the supports needed to address the impacts of this crisis in our communities:
- New funding for more mental health and community social service workers to ensure there are more frontline workers to respond to needs in communities, and take pressure off police so they can focus on serious crime;
- Providing $100M in grants for local governments which will help support them in responding to community concerns around street disorder and community safety; and
- Continuing our work to help prescribers separate more people from the toxic drug supply through safe prescription alternatives.
There is more work to do to tackle these challenges and get more people the treatment and healthcare they need. The BC NDP is committed to continuing that work in partnership with communities.