The B.C. Government has expanded access to support and health care services for drug users by introducing seven new and nine expanded substance use teams around the province.

The B.C. Government said the expanded teams will provide services to prevent overdoses and connect people to ongoing treatment.

“We know that most people who overdose have had contact with health services in the months prior to their death,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These new teams will help ensure that when someone reaches out for help, they are not left to fend for themselves or sent back out into the community without support. Health professionals will walk alongside them to ensure they are connected to the resources they need when and where they need them.”

The service is intended to help ensure people who use substances and need access to health care stay connected to care services with options tailored to their needs.

As well, the Province said the service is meant to adjust to what each individual community may need, with a range of professionals including nurses, counsellors and social workers.

Some of the individualized care includes the following list:

  • Outreach workers that bring services to people and help them get connected to services.
  • A mix of clinical services and social supports including access to prescribers for safe prescription alternatives to the toxic drug supply.
  • Support for people during transitions to ensure continuity of care.
  • In-reach services to provide even more support for people with substance use challenges residing in supportive housing, as well as hotels or emergency response centres during COVID-19.
  • Connections to primary care.

Depending on the team, people can connect with them through self-referral or a referral from a health care provider.