Grant to help reduce addictions stigma in Richmond

The City of Richmond has received a $50,000 grant to help reduce stigma for people with addictions so they can get better health-care services.

The Health Champions Conversations Initiative will be a joint project between the city and Vancouver Coastal Health to connect people who have struggled with addictions with health-care professionals to share what their lived experience has been.

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This information will be shared with primary care providers like family doctors and nurse-practioners as well as pharmacists, local non-profit agencies and hospital emergency room staff to promote harm reduction.

Richmond was one of 24 communities to receive a Community Wellness and Harm Reduction grant, meant to address the overdose crisis at a local level.

“Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe community,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a press release. “We know that when people come together to identify challenges and solutions, we can create vibrant communities that put residents’ wellness first.”

The Richmond steering committee will include representatives from VCH and Richmond city staff, the Musqueam First Nation, various agencies and “people with lived and living experience” in addictions.

The grants, totalling $900,000, will fund projects around the province including a business engagement and ambassador project in Abbotsford, a needle recovery program in Vancouver, a drop-in harm reduction and meal program in Houston and an employment program in Penticton and Kelowna.

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