Mr. Speaker, we are in the midst of a toxic drug crisis. We need a health-based approach to substance use that reduces stigma and addresses the root cause of addiction. It is critical that organizations providing harm reduction services have long-term, stable funding.
The Victoria SAFER initiative is an incredible program run by AVI Health and Community Services. It offers an innovative model of a prescribed safe supply that is community-based, nurse-led and grounded in principles of harm reduction. Participants are welcomed, nurtured and treated with respect. Resources on how to access treatment options are always available.
SAFER has been at capacity since it opened in 2020, and its staff and volunteers have been working around the clock, but it may be forced to close if it does not receive continued funding from the substance use and addictions program by the end of this year. This would leave many of the most vulnerable in our community at an even higher risk of death. The federal government must respond to the toxic drug crisis with the urgency and resources needed to save lives.