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Province invests in life-saving care

The B.C. government is spending $132-million over the next three years to help people with substance-use challenges.

According to provincial officials, the investment will create more than 65 new or enhanced services, open around 195 new substance-use treatment beds and add more than 130 full-time-equivalent staff.

Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions said the funding will be a complete system overhaul on how substance-use care will be provided.

“Over the past four years our government has been working hard to patch holes in a deeply fragmented system that was neglected for 16 years,” added Malcomson.

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“Now we are moving beyond filling gaps. Our work is shifting as we begin to make true system-level change.”

In the Interior, no specifics have been released, but B.C. officials did say the investment will include new transitional/stabilization beds, new regional residential treatment beds to support women and new outpatient withdrawal management services in multiple locations throughout the Interior.

“Now, through Budget 2021’s historic investment, we are beginning to make true systemic change. B.C.’s $132-million investment in treatment and recovery will result in significant improvements everywhere in the province, making substance-use care more seamless, better integrated and easier to access,” said Malcomson.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions will be working with health authorities to find the best ways to implement the changes.

Provincial officials said more services in every region will be announced at a later date.

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