VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s chief medical officer says far more needs to be done to bridge the divide between mental-health and addiction treatment in order to tackle Canada’s growing overdose crisis.
Speaking at a Canadian Mental Health Association conference in Vancouver, Perry Kendall says too often patients are sent back and forth between the two fields and told to fix their other problem first.
Kendall says it is inaccurate to say Canada’s treatment system is broken because that implies there was a system to begin with.
B.C. has been ground zero for Canada’s opioid crisis, and more than 900 people died from illicit drug overdoses last year.
The province declared a state of emergency last April in response to a sharp spike in overdose rates, but that didn’t stop the growing number of deaths.
Kendall says the proportion of overdoses in B.C. where the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl was detected surged from 5 per cent in 2012 to 62 per cent in 2016.
The Canadian Press