British Columbia

Dr. Patricia Daly calls for new mental health hub to fight Vancouver's fentanyl crisis

Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer will ask city council for $1 million to fund a new centre at St. Paul's Hospital.

Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer to ask city council for funds

Fentanyl had the reputation as one of the deadliest street drugs available in Alberta — but the rise of W-18 and 3-methyl fentanyl has thrown that into question (CBC)

Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer will ask city council for a new mental health and addictions hub at St. Paul's Hospital.

Dr. Patricia Daly is expected to update Vancouver city council tonight on what's needed to address the ongoing fentanyl crisis where more than 300 people have died.

Dr. Patricia Daly, Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer, will be updating city council on opioid overdoses and what's needed to respond to the issue. (Charlie Cho/CBC)

She says the proposed centre will be key to helping those struggling with fentanyl use.

"That hub is critically important to begin to link those suffering from addictions to appropriate care," said Daly during an interview with CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.

"We will also use that opportunity to provide those who come to St. Paul's after an overdose with take-home naloxene kits," adding that users will be trained on using the drug which helps reverse overdoses.

In explaining why she's recommending the centre be placed at St. Paul's Hospital, Daly said 70 per cent of overdose patients that are brought to the hospital, end up at the downtown location.

The majority of deaths related to illicit drugs are centred around downtown Vancouver, specifically clustered in the Downtown Eastside. Daly says most of the deaths are tied to those with chronic addictions. (Dr. Patricia Daly/Vancouver Coastal Health)

The new centre will require at least $1 million in funding from the city. 

Her recommendation comes after a previous announcement for five additional safe injection sites in B.C.

"I know that advocates have been calling for that and we agree that we need to expand those services," she said.

If the proposals are granted, Daly says it's expected to take another year before the centres are operational.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Dr. Patricia Daly calls for new resources to fight fentanyl overdoses in Vancouver.