Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor listens to a news conference on the national PharmaCare program at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute in Toronto on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Feds give $15 million for 15 projects to combat B.C.’s overdose crisis

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made announcement at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Foundation

The federal government has announced $15 million in new funding to be used for research into increasing access to drug addiction treatment and overall education about B.C.’s opioid crisis.

The funds, announced by Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor at the St. Paul’s Foundation in Vancouver on Wednesday, will be split between 15 projects across the province.

“This crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada’s recent history, and organizations on the ground can help us turn the tide of it,” Petitpas Taylor said in a news release.

Roughly $9.6 million will be used for seven projects focused on spreading information on effective treatment options, while $1.3 million will go to four initiatives directed at reducing the risk of HIV and hepatitis C among people who share drug use equipment.

The last $4.4 million will support four projects creating effective treatment for Indigenous people – one of the populations hardest hit by illicit drug overdoses.

ALSO READ: ‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

On Tuesday, the minister announced $1.7 million for a pilot project at the University of Victoria that will evaluate equipment that could potentially be more effective in testing for fentanyl than the test strips being used at overdose prevention sites.

READ MORE: Feds give $1.7M for UVic-based drug checking pilot project

The announcement is part of an agreement between the federal and B.C. governments that gives access to $71.1 million for treatment options to curb the 1,500 overdose deaths happening each year on average.

ALSO READ: B.C. launches new drug-checking program, expands fentanyl testing


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