Citing a major increase in overdose deaths in recent months, the B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has announced a major investment that will double the number of beds available for youth seeking mental health and substance use treatment.
Through a $36 million investment delivered over two years between 2022 and 2023, the province will create 123 new beds for youth substance-use treatment and withdrawal-management services.
These beds will serve youth aged 12-24 and double the number of beds currently available to them.
“For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Especially in these challenging times, young people shouldn’t have to wait for care. There’s much more to do, and we’re going to keep building a full continuum of mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C.”
According to the province, the first round of beds will be in place by the end of this fiscal year, but it remains to be seen what parts of the province they will be placed in.
During the press conference on Thursday, Darcy stated that the locations of these new services would be determined based on which communities were hardest hit by the fentanyl poisoning crisis.
Victoria has consistently had the third most number of overdose deaths per month, according to BC Coroners Service’s monthly reports.
67 people in Victoria have lost their lives to drugs in the first six months of 2020. To put this into perspective, 61 people overdosed on drugs in all of 2019 in the city.