The province says more people in B.C. will soon have access to life-saving overdose prevention, treatment and supports.

Victoria will spend $10.5 million on accelerating the response to an increasingly toxic illicit drug supply due to COVID-19.

According to the province, the funding will help scale up overdose prevention services, expand access to safe prescription alternatives to separate people from toxic street drugs and add new outreach teams to help prevent overdose deaths, save lives and connect more people to treatment and recovery throughout B.C.

To reduce the number of people using alone, the province says the funding will also be used to open 17 new supervised consumption services and 12 new inhalation services in communities hit hardest by the overdose crisis.

Forty-two new full-time registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers and peer support workers will be added to 14 new and existing interdisciplinary outreach teams throughout the province.

Working in groups of three, these workers will help connect people with substance-use challenges, including those who use drugs alone, to treatment, recovery and services that best suit  heir needs. In addition, these teams will be vital in bringing services to people who may be unable to access services as a result of COVID-19.

Expanding overdose prevention services and connecting people to treatment and supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C’s roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia.

To learn more about A Pathway to Hope, click here.