Maple Ridge’s community action team is getting $100,000 to help fight addiction and overdoses.
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced the cash Wednesday, saying that local communities can help solve the opioid overdose crisis.
In April 2016, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the crisis a public health emergency.
“Some of the most innovative solutions have come from local community action,” Darcy said in a news release.
The money will support partnerships and local actions, and build knowledge, “to ensure community teams can continue to effectively respond to the overdose crisis.”
Maple Ridge community action team is one of 18 in the province that will receive $100,000 after applying earlier this year.
The grant money was announced last February, when the ministry announced a community action team for Maple Ridge because of the number of overdoses in the city.
The money will be used life-saving responses, early intervention and to help people access evidenced-based, proactive treatment.
Each community action team will work with health authority regional response team to identify the most effective overdose prevention for each city, while sharing lessons learned with the province.
“The funding’s phenomenal and it’s going to allow us to do a lot of great work,” said Annika Polegato, with Alouette Addiction Services.
The exact allocation of the funding will be announced later by the committee.
However, Maple Ridge, in the first three months of this year, had the fourth-lowest number of fatal overdoses, 11, of the major B.C. cities, according to a report from the B.C. Coroner’s Service.
“We have amazing people working on the frontlines in Maple Ridge, and this $100,000 in funding will help them to find community-centred solutions to the overdose crisis that has affected so many people across the province,” Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith said in an e-mailed statement.
Another $75,000 will be available in the fall.
Community action teams focus on:
• expanding community-level overdose prevention services;
• ensuring the availability of naloxone wherever needed;
• addressing the toxic drug supply through expanded drug-checking services;
• increasing connections to addiction treatment medications;
•proactively supporting people at risk of overdose by intervening early to provide treatment and housing;
• raising community awareness of overdose risk and strategies to increase safety.