Nanaimo will get a new government funded treatment and wellness centre to aid the community stricken by the toxic drug crisis.
On the heels of the BC Coroners Service announcing 179 deaths in October alone due to illicit drug use, the province announced this new centre for healing.
This year to date, 1,827 people in BC died of drug poisoning–59 of those deaths occurred in Nanaimo.
The province is funding the project through Island Health to integrate and expand harm reduction, treatment and recovery services for drug users in and around Nanaimo.
The aim of this new treatment and wellness centre will be to provide life-saving supports to those who require them.
It will be an overdose prevention site that offers treatment options and includes other forms of harm reductio measures.
“At this dangerous time of drug toxicity, we want services to meet people,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Once complete, the Nanaimo wellness and recovery centre will connect people with substance-use challenges to the supports they need to stay alive and connect to care.”
The overdose prevention site is located at 250 Albert Street and will open its doors in a limited capacity beginning on December 5th while the space is being renovated.
It is set to be fully functional by late 2023.
“There is a crucial need for more services for people living with substance use,” said Jason Harrison, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) mid-island branch.
“This new service will provide a client-centred, dignified and non-judgmental care, and offers opportunities for people to connect with the services they need, and supports them on their wellness journeys.”
BC says they are trying to enhance support for those with mental-health and substance-use issues through A Pathway to Hope, which is their three-year plan to combat the toxic drug supply crisis.