Urban Health

Amid a mental health crisis, Vancouver care providers revisit the debate on institutionalization (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

Institutionalized care for the mentally ill has been replaced by a combination of effective drug treatments and services provided in communities. Some at-risk individuals are slipping through the cracks, Vancouver care providers warn.

Libby Davies is the health critic for the federal Opposition. She has also represented Vancouver East (which includes the Downtown Eastside) since 1997.

Dealing with mentally ill continues unabated for Vancouver police (St. Paul’s Hospital)

Their message was stark, and their words were strong and carefully chosen.

The situation in Vancouver’s streets was nothing short of “a crisis,” both the mayor and the chief of police declared in a joint press conference last September.

Vancouver mayor’s report maps steps to address mental health and addiction (St. Paul’s Hospital)

A task force assembled last year to address Vancouver’s “major crisis” of severe mental illness and addiction has released its recommendations on how to improve the fate of residents struggling with the health problems.

The report released Wednesday lists 23 recommendations to improve the lives of residents living with mental illness and addiction.

Vancouver mayor's task force offers no silver bullet answer to mental illness crisis (St. Paul’s Hospital)

Nearly a year after Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson created a task force to try to get to the root causes of a growing mental illness crisis in the city, the special group has issued its first report.

But if the expectation was that the 60-member committee—made up of health officials, academics, police, provincial agencies and social service groups—would have a silver bullet answer to how to stop the growth of untreated mental illness, it won't be found in its initial findings.

Vancouver mayor's first report on mental health and addiction identifies priorities for addressing a crisis (St. Paul's Hospital)

The city has published its first report on mental health and addiction nearly one year to the day that Mayor Gregor Robertson stood beside Vancouver police chief Jim Chu to ask higher levels of government for support in addressing those issues.

Robertson used the report’s publication to reiterate calls for assistance.

Advocates say Vancouver's harm reduction push has left out crack users (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

Down the hall from the supervised injection room at Insite, there’s a mostly unused space that years ago was haphazardly filled with boxes.

Unique for a storage space, it’s outfitted to accommodate heavy air-handling units powerful enough to create negative room pressure.

Vancouver's addiction ambitions, revisited (Dr. Thomas Kerr, Dr. Evan Wood)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, drug policy pulsed at the heart of Vancouver's municipal politics. In 2002, Larry Campbell, the former RCMP officer turned chief coroner, carried his newly adopted COPE party into city hall by campaigning on a harm reduction platform. These ideas—clean needle distribution, supervised injection sites, and methadone—were presented as pragmatic solutions to the harms associated with drug use.

A new way to treat heroin addicts

Could heroin soon be prescribed by doctors to “treat” addicts here in Canada? We find out more about preparations for the first prescription heroin program starting soon for a group of long time Vancouver users.

Gregor Craigie reports

Click here to listen to the interview

Fact vs fiction: Rona Ambrose’s laughable claims about Conservative ‘evidence-based policy’

In a recent speech to the Canadian Medical Association, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said something no cabinet minister ought to have to say out loud: that her boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his government are firm believers in evidence-based policy.

Ambrose claimed that “at the end of the day, for policymakers like me, it’s the medical science and data-based evidence that must guide our decisions on health sector regulation and allocation of resources.”

The long road to prescription diacetylmorphine in British Columbia

The 2014 holiday season in Canada is set to mark the arrival of a very different sort. Approximately 200 opiate addicts in British Columbia will receive legally prescribed laboratory-manufactured Heroin all the way from Europe. After a long drawn out legal battle over the right to access this treatment, prescription heroin (or diacetylmorphine), is on track to be legally available to eligible patients by the end of the year; just in time for Christmas.

How did this landmark decision in Canadian addiction treatment become possible? Let's take a look back …

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