Kamloops mayor optimistic after meeting new Mental Health and Addictions Minister - InfoNews

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Kamloops mayor optimistic after meeting new Mental Health and Addictions Minister

The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy is pictured in this submitted photo. Darcy was in Kamloops, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2017 for a roundtable discussion on the opioid crisis.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
November 16, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - After a roundtable discussion between city officials, the Kamloops RCMP Superintendent and the city's fire chief, Kamloops mayor Ken Christian is optimistic the province's Mental Health and Addictions Minister has heard their concerns around the opioid crisis.

Christian says about 25 people met at the Interior Health offices in North Kamloops yesterday, Nov. 15, for a roundtable discussion with Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy.

Christian says they discussed the state of the opioid crisis in Kamloops.

"I offered my perspective on it," Christian says. "It’s out of control and getting worse."

He says the more than 30 overdose deaths in Kamloops so far this year is unacceptable. The Mayor says if that many people died at a specific intersection or bridge in the city, officials would have acted much sooner.

"Normally with this kind of an epidemic you would kind of see it start to burn itself out," Christian says.

That's not happening yet, although the latest numbers from the B.C. Coroners Service do show a decline in overdose deaths in Kamloops and the rest of the Interior Health Authority during the month of September.

Christian says it's a positive step in the right direction, but adds it is too soon to expect the decline to be the norm.

"It’s nice to see, but one month doesn’t make a trend," he says. 

Having a minister and a ministry solely dedicated to mental health and addictions in the province is important, Christian says, because it shows the government's commitment to "wrestling" the opioid crisis to the ground.

Darcy was appointed Mental Health and Addictions Minister after the NDP came into power earlier this year. She told iNFOnews.ca in August the overdose crisis was at the top of her priority list.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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