Community innovation grants awarded to address overdose crisis at the local level

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Twenty-seven communities and organizations in British Columbia will receive approximately $1.7 million in provincial funding to support local action to save lives, address stigma and connect more people to treatment and recovery.

The projects will help address local needs specific to each community. Examples range from peers taking an active leadership role in the development and delivery of overdose prevention services in Quesnel, to involving peers in partnerships around single-room-occupancy resources to support socially isolated people in Vancouver.

“People on the ground – in communities – are the best equipped to identify what’s working, to find the gaps and to set priorities as we work together to end this achingly long public health emergency,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “That’s why I am so encouraged by the projects put forward from communities in every part of B.C. to save lives, fight stigma and connect more people to treatment and recovery.”

This funding is part of a two-stream grant process administered through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Community Action Initiative (CAI) that aims to provide targeted resources for innovative overdose prevention measures in communities affected by the overdose crisis.

“Communities are working hard to find thoughtful and locally appropriate ways to counter the overdose crisis,” said Dr. Patricia Daly, executive lead, Overdose Emergency Response Centre. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support these 27 projects to expand the reach and scope of our overdose response.”

Community innovation grants are being distributed through the CMHA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions via the Overdose Emergency Response Centre (OERC). Grants come from the Province’s Community Crisis Innovation Fund. The Ministry of Health provided $4 million in funding to the CMHA and CAI from the September 2017 Budget Update to address the overdose crisis, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to create the Community Overdose Crisis Innovation Fund.