Involve Indigenous drug users in finding solutions to B.C.’s OD crisis: report

Dr. Mark Tyndall, BC Centre for Disease Control executive medical director, says drug users need access to non-toxic opioids

A report examining ways to reduce overdose deaths in British Columbia is calling for more involvement of Indigenous drug users, who are overrepresented in the crisis.

The BC Centre for Disease Control released the report after a meeting in June of 160 people including drug users, health and law enforcement personnel, government officials and the medical community.

It says people with past or present “lived experience” of substance use need to play a key role in developing and implementing realistic solutions to an epidemic that has killed thousands of people in B.C.

READ MORE: First Nations people in B.C. three times more likely to die of overdose

READ MORE: B.C.’s First Nations leaders suspect high rate of overdose deaths

The report says that as experts in the field, so-called peers are often the first responders to an overdose and should be paid appropriately for their contributions to research, service delivery and overdose prevention activities.

Dr. Mark Tyndall, the centre’s executive medical director, says drug users need access to non-toxic opioids to prevent overdoses in the first place.

Similar meetings in 2016 and 2017 resulted in expanded access to take-home kits of the overdose-reversing medication naloxone and more education for health care professionals on addiction medicine.

The Canadian Press

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