Govt. announces nearly $40 million to support people with substance use disorder


M’Chigeeng First Nation group receives additional funding

VANCOUVER—The M’Chigeeng E-wiijkiwe’endijig Naadmaadwaad (Friends Helping Each Other) group is receiving additional funding announced by the federal government.

“Drug overdose in Canada has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and with an increasingly toxic drug supply. Recent data shows historic opioid overdose-related deaths across Canada in 2021. Too many lives have been lost to this crisis, leaving too many families and friends to grieve,” said Carolyn Bennett, minister of mental health and addictions and associate minister of health. “Today, our government is taking further action by investing in projects that will support people dealing with problematic substance use across the country. I thank all the organizations receiving funding for their dedication in decreasing substance use harms, preventing overdose, increasing safer supply initiatives, and reducing stigma.”

The E-wiijkiwe’endijig Naadmaadwaad (Friends Helping Each Other) at M’Chigeeng First Nations will receive $697,405 in addition to the $801,751 already received, to train local persons with lived and living experience of substance abuse as peer support advocates. Training will include a mix of Indigenous and western concepts, including trauma-informed care practices, motivational interviewing, the stages of change model, harm reduction practices, and evidence-based peer support practices. This additional funding will be used to hire a cultural advisor and four full-time peer support advocates.

The overdose crisis is an ongoing national public health crisis that is having a tragic impact on people who use substances, their families and communities across Canada. This crisis has only worsened over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly toxic drug supply, and evidence shows a significant rise in opioid and other substance-related deaths and serious harms. The latest data on substance use related harms shows that 7,560 people died due to opioid overdose-related deaths across Canada in 2021. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to the life-saving substance use service and supports they need.

On July 20, Minister Bennett announced nearly $40 million in federal funding for 73 projects across Canada through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). These projects will help to improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms and overdose by scaling up prevention, harm reduction and treatment efforts, including access to safe supply programs. The funding will allow innovative community-led projects to continue servicing the many communities and people who need them.

The funding will also provide support to those disproportionately affected by problematic substance use or who face barriers accessing services, including women, youth, young and middle-aged men, Indigenous Peoples, people experiencing chronic pain, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and people at increased risk of substance-related poisoning and overdose.