In June 2020 CASS participated in British Columbia’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. This is a budget consultation used to inform how British Columbia’s provincial government spends taxpayer money for the upcoming year (2021). British Columbia's government has now published that report.
On June 9th, 2020, CASS spoke about the critical lack of funding for the overdose crisis, the urgent need to expand pharmacare to include injectable opioids, and the lack of transparent health information regarding the harms of tablet injection. Read that testimony here: https://www.safesupply.ca/cass_cofounder_jordan_westfall_testifies_before_bc_select_standing_committee_on_finance_and_government_services
Just days later, British Columbia publicly announced that May 2020 was the worst month in provincial history for overdose deaths.
While we applaud the finance committee’s report for noting the stark differences in the provincial response between COVID-19 and the overdose crisis, we are disappointed that the committee only broadly acknowledged the need for keeping existing safe supply options, and the report had no specific recommendations to expand pharmacare coverage to include injectable opioids. The report also acknowledges that several participants in the consultation stated the need to decriminalize people who use drugs.
Political indifference makes the overdose crisis a political crisis.
British Columbia's overdose crisis has continued for five long years. Yet it still seems that politicians are unable to face the music. The overdose crisis budget is depleted. We need political leadership.
The report is available at: www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/finance