United Way grants $8,000 to B.C. society to help combat the opioid crisis

Umbrella Society to offer another session of their Understanding Addiction workshops this fall

Last year, 1,510 people in B.C. died of a drug overdose.

United Way is working with community partners to tackle the opioid crisis through its Overdose Prevention Project to create awareness and educate people through de-stigmatization, compassion and fact-based information.

Components of the Overdose Prevention Project include Wednesday’s Overdose Prevention Expo where 18 community partners present information on what opioids are, the risks, harm reduction, naloxone training, and the programs and services available to help people who are struggling.

READ MORE: Special report: Greater Victoria’s opioid crisis

“Our driving objective is to save lives through preventive measures,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way. “For 82 years, United Way has been at the forefront of social issues impacting our community. By working together, we make important social issues like the opioid crisis unignorable.”

The Overdose Prevention Project also includes funding for community partners to educate others about the dangers of opioids, harm reduction strategies and programs and services to help people and their loved ones.

“This unprecedented public health emergency has touched the lives of everyone in British Columbia. I’m so grateful for the work United Way is doing to break down the walls of silence that keep so many people from reaching out for help,” said Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions. “The Overdose Prevention project is a true example of how we need all hands on deck to stem the tide of this terrible crisis. I know we can all work together to ensure that people looking for mental health and addictions support get the help they need when and where they need it.”

As part of the expo, United Way announced a grant of $8,000 to Umbrella Society for Addictions & Mental Health. The funding will enable Umbrella Society to offer another session of their “Understanding Addiction” workshops this fall.

The five-part workshop focuses on how we think about addiction; harm reduction; therapies like opioid substitution therapy; how the brain functions on substances; working with different populations like youth; family impact and understanding; and recovery. The workshops are free to the public. To learn more contact the Umbrella Society at wecanhelp@umbrellasociety.ca.

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