Tri-Cities to get team to tackle overdose crisis

Fraser Health, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Share get funding for on-the-ground group

The Tri-Cities will be one of 16 B.C. communities to receive up to $150,000 in funding for community action teams (CAT) to battle the overdose crisis.

A mental health and addictions ministry spokesperson said Fraser Health identified the Tri-Cities as needing the program, which is already in 19 B.C. communities and provides local, integrated planning and strategies in response to the crisis. The funding was announced Monday along with a program that will provide up to $50,000 in grant funding for community projects — such as community dialogues, needle distribution and recovery programs — to stem the tide of overdoses.

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"From day one, we recognized that it is people on the ground, on the front lines of the overdose crisis who know best what works in their communities, large and small," said Judy Darcy, the minister of mental health and addictions when announcing the funding at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Vancouver. "By investing in local solutions, we are coming together as a province to reduce harm, fight stigma and support people on their own pathway to healing and hope."

The CAT will be run by Fraser Health, Share Family and Community Services, Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice and the cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. 

In addition, the community wellness and harm reduction grants will go to projects led by municipalities in partnership with the health authority, said a ministry press release. A total of $3.5 million will be put toward the two programs.

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