NDP doesn’t go far enough to protect the needs of vulnerable youth

VICTORIA (June 23, 2020) Official Opposition Critic for Mental Health and Addictions Jane Thornthwaite is disappointed that after three years with a stand-alone ministry devoted to Mental Health and Addictions, the NDP’s Mental Health Amendment Act does not go far enough in helping youth struggling with addiction.

“May was the deadliest month for overdoses in B.C.’s history and reinforced the urgent need for substantive action from this government to provide youth with addictions the proper supports they need,” said Thornthwaite. “More than ever, John Horgan and the NDP need to step up their response to this crisis and repair the gaps in the system before more people — especially our kids — fall through the cracks. I’ve outlined an easy solution to protect kids in the Safe Care Act, and it’s disappointing the government continue to ignore it.”

Thornthwaite has introduced the Safe Care Act two times in an attempt to put forward real solutions to help young people find safe spaces so they can recover from substance abuse, sexual or domestic violence, or mental health issues. Since the Safe Care Act was introduced by MLA Thornthwaite in 2018, nearly 40 youth have died from an overdose.

“The NDP’s legislation falls short in filling any of the significant existing gaps in the youth mental health system and lacks the teeth to implement the services needed, including treatment and supports for those chronically addicted who do not present to an ER with an overdose,” concluded Thornthwaite. “Today’s proposed legislation is very cumbersome, and it remains to be seen how it will help youth at their most vulnerable, especially those suffering from addiction.”

The NDP needs to invest in substantive changes to help save our vulnerable youth.