BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO The province has responded to the Overdose/Opioid Public Health Emergency.

Province gives FNHA $20 million to combat overdose emergency

The funding will support community-driven solitions

The Province of B.C. will provide the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) with $20 million over three years to support First Nations communities and Indigenous Peoples to address the ongoing impacts of the overdose public health emergency.

The funding will be administered by FNHA and provided to frontline service providers and First Nations communities to support work already underway, and develop new community-driven approaches and solutions.

“In my role as Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, I have heard from people about the heartbreaking toll that the overdose crisis is taking on First Nations communities throughout B.C,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “ We know that these devastating losses are part of a much larger problem that has roots in colonization, dispossession of lands and resources, inter-generational trauma, racism and stigmatization. Together with the First Nations Health Authority, the funding announced today will help us to build a seamless and coordinated system of mental health and addictions services.”

Funding includes $4 million in 2017-18 to support activities falling within the four goal areas of the FNHA’s Framework for Action on Responding to the Overdose/Opioid Public Health Emergency for First Nations.

The funding will support immediate initiatives including: expansion to naloxone training for First Nations communities; peer to peer engagement to support persons using substances with better health care access and stigma reduction; increased access to opioid agonist therapy in rural and remote communities; and telehealth services to increase access to culturally safe pharmacy services.

$2.4 million of year one funding is supporting community-driven, Nation-based innovative and culturally relevant responses to the overdose public health emergency, both on- and off-reserve through FNHA Indigenous harm reduction grants.

An open call for projects grants was issued in December 2017, which resulted in 183 applications. Out of those applications, fifty-five community projects have been approved for First Nations communities and urban service providers.

Successful projects are supporting a range of non-judgmental approaches and strategies to enhance the knowledge, skills, resources and supports for individuals, their families and communities to make informed decisions to be safer and healthier.

The funded projects support the four goal areas and include a range of cultural and medical interventions and include back-to-land camps, development of Urban Aboriginal harm reduction services, enhancing client care for hard to reach populations, promoting utilization of local harm reduction services including safe injection sites, community-based educational campaigns and more.

“Our people are deep in pain. The way forward to achieving mental wellness in our families and communities requires new approaches,” said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the First Nations Health Council. “Listen, learn and act is what our leaders and Elders have told us. I’m grateful that our partners are working with us to address and resolve the historical legacy of the residential schools and assimilation policies.”

In August 2017, the FNHA and provincial partners released preliminary data that showed overrepresentation of First Nations peoples in the overdose public health emergency in B.C. A subsequent patient journey mapping session held in Vancouver October 2017, illustrates that intergenerational trauma and racism continue to be barriers for First Nations accessing mental health and treatment services.

– Gazette staff

Just Posted

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

PRACC Chair Fred Robertson happy with how windmill blade display turned out

“Rotary really stepped up, which was excellent.”

Island Foods renovates bottle depot and cans old bottle return system

“I don’t want people to spend the whole day here,” said Angela Taylor on Port McNeill’s bottle depot.

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

B.C. tent city residents have three weeks to clear out: Supreme Court

Fire risk, criminal activity in neighbourhood cited as reasons for judgment

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

Most Read