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Vancouver BIA calls on feds to ensure safe, free drug supply to prevent overdoses

Last Updated Feb 6, 2020 at 9:44 am PDT

A naloxone anti-overdose kit is shown in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Summary

The DVBIA is calling on the federal government to expand programs to prevent more overdose deaths

DVBIA has been in favour of the four pillars approach the city has used to address drug addiction in the community

The City of Vancouver says more than 3,600 people have died as a result of the crisis in B.C. so far

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Saying this is a national public health emergency, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association is calling on the federal government to expand safe supply drug programs to prevent overdose deaths.

CEO Charles Gauthier, speaking in an Op-Ed video as part of Conversations that Matter, says the association has always been in favour of the four pillars approach the city has used to address drug addiction in the community, but he stresses it’s time to do more.

“[The four pillars drug strategy] is based on the principals of harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforcement,” he says in the video posted to YouTube.

Gauthier explains directors have approved a policy for the DVBIA to call on the government to do more to address the ongoing crisis.

“By proactively supporting all doctors, health authorities, and province across Canada to safely provide regulated opioids through a free and federally-available pharmacare program,” he says.

“This is a national public health emergency, and indeed a problem faced by many large cities throughout the world,” Gauthier notes.

Gauthier adds although Naloxone kits and overdose prevention sites have helped decrease the number of overdose deaths in the city, the DVBIA believes a safe drug supply is what would truly make a difference.

“We have long been supporters of the four pillars

A significant increase in the number opioid-related overdose deaths in Vancouver was first reported in 2016, with a public health emergency being declared that same year.

To date, the City of Vancouver says more than 3,600 people have died as a result of the crisis in B.C.