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BC. tries to curb a large number of deaths from overdose by recent prisoners – Agassiz Harrison Observer

BC. begins a project aimed at reducing the number of deaths from overdose by prisoners recently released from correctional facilities.

Last year, a commission to investigate the coroner's death found about two thirds BC. residents who died of a drug overdose within 19 months recently had contact with the criminal justice system.

READ MORE: Opioid crisis can shorten the life expectancy of British Colombians

The group stated that in the period from January 2016 to the end of July 2017, 333 people died within the first month after being released from a correctional facility.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health announced that five new transition groups were created in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Port Coquitlam to help people with opioid disorders get treatment.

The groups consist of a social worker and a peer who used drugs and could also be imprisoned to work with a person who was released to provide the necessary support.

Lynn Pelletier, with B.S. Mental health and substance use services say that people in the justice system are among the most vulnerable in society, but in the current overdose emergency, they are harder to achieve.

“Integrating correctional care with community care gives us the opportunity not only to prevent overdose, but also to connect to health services and possibly change their life trajectory, addressing some of the social and economic realities that led them to us first. a place."

Dr. Nader Sharifi, medical director of the Corrective Health Service, says that about 40 percent of people in prisons receive treatment for an opioid disorder.

He says that people are at increased risk when they leave the institution and do not have access to a doctor.

“There are obstacles to continuing the treatment they begin with us. Clients face stigma. They may not have income and a fixed address. It's not as easy as visiting the doctor’s nearest office, ”he said in a press release.

Community transition teams began to connect with their first customers this month. The provincial health administration says it hopes to expand the project next year based on service results.

Canadian press

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