Author Archives: Maia Gibb

Portugal Model for Fighting Drug Deaths Appeals To BC

Vancouver Province
> (2017-09-08)
>
> News
> Portugal model for fighting drug deaths appeals to B.C
Dr. João Goulão, who helped create
> Portugal’s policy for combating drug addictions and overdoses, was at the
> Recovery Capital Conference of Canada in New Westminster Thursday.;
> B.C.’s first minister of mental health and addictions says she will take
> an “all-ministry” approach to the overdose crisis, influenced in part by
> Portugal’s renowned policy for drug use and addiction.
>
>
> Minister Judy Darcy met with Dr.
>
>
> João Goulão, Portugal’s national drug coordinator, at this week’s Recovery
> Capital Conference of Canada in New Westminster.
>
>
> In 1998, Goulão was part of a committee that developed policy to deal with
> a deadly drug crisis in his country, during which one per cent of the
> population was addicted.
>
>
> Through measures such as decriminalization, treatment on demand and the
> expansion of treatment facilities, Portugal’s overdose-death rate
> plummeted while public perception of addiction shifted from viewing it as
> a criminal issue to one of health.
>
>
> By 2015, Portugal had an average of three overdose deaths per one million
> people, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug
> Addiction.
>
>
> In B.C. this year, amid a fentanyl-related public health emergency, there
> have been 313 deaths per one million people, up from 206 last year.
>
>
> After her meeting with Goulão, Darcy said she saw “a pathway to hope”
> through Portugal’s subsidized employment and housing programs for people
> in recovery, and its focus on counselling, treatment and education.
>
>
> “I think we have so much to learn from them,” Darcy said.
>
>
> In Portugal, addiction is treated as a medical issue and a chronic
> disease. It offers drug users an appointment with a doctor as soon as they
> seek help and then creates a “tailor-made” treatment and recovery plan.
> Failure to comply can lead to penalties such as fines or community
> service.
>
>
> B.C.’s new government is promising to implement its own “askonce,
> get-help-fast” approach to treatment and recovery.
>
>
> “There are people out there doing amazing work, but it isn’t a system,
> Darcy said. “It’s not co-ordinated, it’s not seamless and we have all of
> these silos.”
>
>
> Following a tour Wednesday of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Goulão said
> he was shocked by what he saw.
>
>
> “It reminds me of the worst times in Portugal during the heroin epidemic
> in the ’90s,” he said.
>
>
> Goulão was surprised by the neighbourhood’s uncoordinated harm reduction,
> treatment and recovery systems.
>
>
> While he doesn’t know whether Portugal’s system is directly adaptable to
> B.C., he believes political will could bring agencies together for a
> system that functions better.
>
>
> “I saw so many responses – every corner,” he said. “What I kept from the
> visit that I made is that there (is) probably a lack of communication and
> articulation of the work of those different institutions.”
>
>
> Darcy said she would build a coordinated, easy-to-navigate system that
> provides affordable programs as well as follow-ups after treatment.
>
>
> She said her short-term goal is to bring all agencies and ministries video
> See a video with this story at theprovince.com responsible together to
> address the overdose crisis.
>
>
> “Our approach is really an all-government approach. We have to be bold. We
> have no choice.”
>
>
> Goulão said his impression of Darcy was she had a good plan in place.
>
>
> “Clearly, I was very impressed with her speech (at the conference),” he
> said. “I could subscribe (to) it entirely, and I hope that she has the
> political and social conditions to go on with what she proposed.”
>
>
> Conference spokesman Marshall Smith said it was important to invite Goulão
> so the recovery community could better understand the Portuguese model,
> including misconceptions about decriminalization.
>
>
> Smith said after listening to a broad array of delegates from all areas of
> B.C.’s additions-treatment community, he believed B.C. may be ready to
> “take a page out of” Portugal’s policy.
>
>
> “I think we’re starting to see the type of will that is needed to explore
> this, at least on some smaller, pilot basis,” Smith said.
>
>
> “That could be a very exciting breakthrough.”
>
>
neagland@postmedia.com twitter.com/nickeagland
>

My Brother The Addict

Some days I’ll use my go-to line, “He’s still finding himself.” Other days I’ll play it straight, “He’s a drug addict and alcoholic with mental-health issues.”

I always hope my date will just ask me about our truly amazing childhood instead.

click here to read more

Continue Advocacy Work for New BC Government By Doing These Things

As you know, the 2017 BC Election is still unfolding, and the final results of the election will be revealed later this month. After government is formed the 100 days that follow are important – cabinet ministers will be chosen, the opposition selected, and the pressing issues within the province prioritized.

With so much change on the horizon, now is the time to amplify our voices to ensure our provincial leadership keeps mental health and addictions care top of mind. The impact of our b4stage4 work is already evident – check out the newly-released Impact Report to get a sense of what we’ve achieved so far. The report also outlines how the three major political party platforms reflect the five pillars of b4stage4.

We’ve also built two new printable tools for our supporters, available online:

1.      An infographic to help answer the frequently asked question What does stage 4 mean?

2.      A printable poster for office kitchens, community boards, etc.

 

This type of impact is only possible because of dedicated supporters like you! We can’t wait to move the campaign to the next level.

Sign Petition In These Final Days Before the Provincial Election

Mental Health Week just passed. But really, every week should be Mental Health Week.
This year the event coincided with the final week before the BC Provincial Election, and we are urging British Columbians to take this opportunity to connect with their candidates and speak out on social media – to GET LOUD and make mental health a voting issue.
Will you join us? The b4stage4 declaration has 3000 signatures behind it today. We’d like to see this double between now and Election Day. We’re asking our endorsers to help by reaching out to their networks and setting a goal to bring at least 100 new signatures to the declaration over the next week. Click here to access some resources that we’ve prepared to help you achieve this goal, including:
· A template email for your membership lists
· Printable petition pages to collect in-person signatures
· Social media-friendly images and suggested Facebook and Twitter posts
Are you with us? Will you GET LOUD for mental health during this year’s Mental Health Week?
If there’s anything else you might need, or if you’d like to chat directly, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here or at public.policy@cmha.bc.ca.
Thank you for championing b4stage4 in your networks!