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Community action team coming to Kamloops to fight OD crisis

Kamloops will be one of 18 B.C. communities to get community action teams and dedicated funding as part of provincial government's latest plans to fight the overdose crisis.
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Kamloops will be one of 18 B.C. communities to get community action teams and dedicated funding as part of provincial government's latest plans to fight the overdose crisis.

The BC Coroners Service announced this week that 2017 was the deadliest year ever for overdose deaths in the province, with 1,422 such deaths recorded. Kamloops experienced a decline, registering 39 suspected overdose deaths last year, compared to 44 in 2016.

Community action teams will intervene quickly to save lives and support to people at risk of overdose. Other initiatives may include supports such as treatment and housing for people at risk of overdose. The 18 communities will each receive up to $100,000 in one-time funding, while another $6 million in dedicated funding will be available for all the communities in each of three fiscal years, beginning with 2017-2018.

Community action teams will include representation from a multitude of agencies.

The teams will focus on four areas of action to save lives and help people get treatment: o expanding community-based harm-reduction services; o increasing the availability of Naloxone; o addressing the unsafe drug supply through expanded drug-checking services and increasing connections to addiction-treatment medications; o Supporting people at risk of overdose by intervening early to provide services like treatment and housing.

"This escalated emergency response is about using the latest overdose data, which will be updated on a regular basis, to tell us who is at risk and where to deliver life-saving supports on the ground before it's too late," said Dr. Patricia Daly, overdose emergency response centre lead. "This comprehensive community-level response will also allow us to learn more quickly about what's working and share best practices throughout the province to save more lives."

For more information on the community crisis innovation fund and how the money will be distributed, go online to https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose/how-the-province-is-responding