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Cranbrook getting drug overdose support team

Cranbrook will be getting a community action team (CAT) to help with the overdose crisis and save lives.

This comes after $2.5 million in funding from the B.C. government to support new and existing CATs and raise the total number of teams to 36 in the province.

Government officials said the teams provide support and services to people who use drugs and reduce the risk of illicit drug toxicity deaths in communities hit hardest by the overdose crisis.

Provincial officials said the teams help save lives by distributing naloxone, supporting overdose prevention services, providing peer supports and reducing stigma.

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“By investing in CATs, we are supporting overdose prevention and partnering with people with lived and living experience at the local level,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“I’m grateful for the knowledge and experience of CAT team members, whose dedication is making a difference every day by saving lives.”

New teams will be established in Cranbrook and in the Central Coast Regional District and two pre-existing teams in the Central Okanagan will be joined to better coordinate local responses.

Provincial officials said existing teams will receive funds to continue their work through the Community Action Initiative.

“More than ever, people who use substances need services in their community, along with systems supports,” said Melinda Markey, executive director, Community Action Initiative.

“This investment recognizes that local involvement, especially when led by people with lived experience, helps people access the care and support they need and builds a strong, supportive community.”

The first community action teams were established in February 2018 as a response to the ongoing drug poisoning crisis.

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