Tens of millions of dollars are coming to B.C. from the federal government to provide better treatment access for substance abuse.
In a bilateral agreement signed in Toronto Thursday, Ottawa announced it is giving $71.7 million dollars to B.C., the hardest hit province by what health officials call a national opioid crisis.
B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy helped make the announcement with federal health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who said the money is part of funding allocated in the 2018 federal budget.
In it’s latest data on monthly suspected overdose deaths, the B.C. Coroners Service said 134 people died of illicit drug overdoses in July, a 25 per cent increase from June.
That translates to about four deaths per day, the highest rate in the country.
Vancouver Island joined Vancouver and Surrey with the highest number of illicit overdoses in July.
Last week, B.C. became the first province in Canada to launch a proposed class-action lawsuit against dozens of pharmaceutical companies, alleging they falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs and helped trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands.
The province filed the lawsuit in order to recover the public health care costs it alleges were increased dramatically by the manufacturers’ actions.
With files from the Canadian Press.