B.C’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe is sharing her thoughts on the new changes to the Mental Health Act.
Yesterday the provincial government announced that youth under the age of 19 who are suffering from severe drug problems can be admitted to stabilization care after being sent to the hospital as a result of an overdose.
Lapointe says while the amendments could be a good thing, they could also be detrimental to others who are suffering from drug problems.
“As evidenced by previous inquest and death review panel recommendations, there is a recognized need for a comprehensive, culturally safe system of care and treatment for those experiencing problematic substance use in B.C, including youth,” explains Lapointe.
“Without an established evidence-based, accessible system of substance-use treatment services, I am concerned there is the potential for serious unintended consequences as a result of these legislative amendments, including the potential for an increase in fatalities.”
The chief coroner also says the province should be focusing its efforts to reduce the stigma around substance use.
“It is also of critical importance that the laudable work being done by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and others in reducing the fear and stigma related to substance use, and encouraging those experiencing problematic substance use to seek help, is not negatively impacted by the proposed legislative amendments.”
She added that the BC Coroners Service looks forward to receiving a copy of the proposed amendments and the opportunity to engage in further discussions.
To read her full statement, visit the Government of British Columbia’s website.