Pubdate: Mon, 06 Feb 2017
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Matt Kieltyka
Page: 6


Vancouver city council may pump another $370,000 this week into its
efforts to fight the ongoing overdose crisis.

Council will be briefed on two initiatives Wednesday, one providing
peer-based outreach to drug users in single room occupancy hotels and
shelters, and another to enhance mental health support for first responders.

According to the report to council, 89.9 per cent of the province's
record 914 overdose deaths last year occurred indoors.

More than 26 per cent of all overdose deaths occurred at SRO hotels,
motels, rooming houses and shelters, buildings with few staff, limited
access to overdose prevention tools and where people often use drugs
in isolation.

First responders are called out to SROs more than anywhere else in
response to overdoses, according to the report.

Because of that, city staff recommends council partner with Vancouver
Coastal Health, BC Housing and others and allocate $220,000 in grants
for peer-based initiatives geared toward reaching those in SRO hotels.

Staff also recommend $150,000 to create a full-time position in charge
of overseeing mental and physical wellness programs at Vancouver Fire
and Rescue Services, to help identify and treat post traumatic stress
disorder and other mental health issues in firefighters who are often
the first to arrive at overdose calls.

The money will come from the $1,161,000 contingency budget created by
the city to deal with the opioid crisis, collected through a portion
of the city's 3.9-per-cent property-tax increase this year.
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MAP posted-by: Matt