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British Columbia investing in drug-poisoning prevention services for construction workers

The Government of British Columbia announced an increase in drug-poisoning prevention services for construction workers across the province.

Workers will have the opportunity to access life-saving harm-reduction training, substance-use support groups and information on local community resources.

The Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) received a $1 million provincial grant to expand its Tailgate Toolkit project, a harm-reduction program that aims to prevent toxic drug poisoning in BC’s construction industry.

<who> Photo Credit: 123rf

As a part of the expansion the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA), the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA) and the Northern Regional Construction Association (NRCA), will host dedicated harm-reduction co-ordinators.

“This is another important example of how construction leaders are leaning in to support the industry's essential workforce,” says Chris Atchison, president, BC Construction Association, in a statement.

According to the BC Coroners’ Service, between January and October 2021, 79% of those who died from suspected illicit drug toxicity were men.

Additionally, the 2020 Labour Force Survey shows that 86% of the construction workforce is male.

<who> Photo Credit: BC Coroners Service

​​​​“By creating safe and accessible resources that help destigmatize the realities of mental-health and addictions issues, we can further demonstrate our commitment to the communities in which we live, work and build,” adds Atchison.

Each construction association will provide access to resources and services developed in each health region, as well as information on what is available within and beyond employee benefits.

This expansion will guide workers towards information about substance use, harm-reduction, recovery strategies while providing access to support workers with lived experiences and other resources.

According to the news release, training will be provided to managers and responders to recognize and support people with substance-use and mental health challenges, including naloxone training and mental health supports.

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