Vancouver approves $2 million to help frontline workers address overdose crisis

By on January 25, 2017

VANCOUVER –Councillors in Vancouver have approved more than $2 million in measures aimed at addressing the ongoing illicit drug overdose crisis.

The money will fund addictions and mental health training for city staff, the creation of a new community policing centre, and continued support for a mobile-medical clinic at a firehall on the Downtown Eastside.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement that the spending represents the city’s first phase in providing support to frontline workers.

Council approved a 0.5 per cent property tax increase in December, and it is expected to bring in $3.5 million dedicated to fighting the crisis, which claimed 215 lives in Vancouver last year.

Robertson says the city is doing more than its fair share to address drug overdoses, but the federal and provincial governments need to provide greater access to addiction treatment, substitution therapy and detox.

The provincial coroners’ service said 914 people died from illicit overdose deaths across B.C. last year.