The British Columbia government is investing $1 million into expanding a program to help prevent drug overdoses in the construction industry.
The funding will expand the Vancouver Island Construction Association’s current Tailgate Toolkit project, a harm-reduction program that began as a pilot on the island in January 2021.
The program provides harm-reduction training in the workplace, organized substance-use support groups and information about community resources for drug users.
The $1-million investment will be provided through the B.C. division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the provincial Community Action Initiative.
“The toxic drug crisis continues to take lives at a tragic rate,” said Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson in a statement Thursday. “In cases where we know where someone worked, nearly 20 per cent of those who died worked in trades, transport or as equipment operators.”
B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains called the province’s drug-poisoning crisis “heartbreaking” and said the expanded Tailgate Toolkit program will “ensure construction workers know the risks and feel empowered to get help when they need it.”
The program will include training in mental-health first aid and naloxone treatment for workplace managers.