In the Vancouver Sun: A New Proposal by Dr. Bill MacEwan and the BCS Urges Government Action to Address Overdose & Mental Health Crisis in the DTES


Update: Catch Dr. Bill MacEwan’s October 30th radio interview on CBC’s The Current, where he speaks to host Matt Galloway about the comprehensive new plan he has presented to provincial leaders to address the dire addictions and mental health crises in the Downtown Eastside.


Pictured: Dr. Bill MacEwan, Clinical Professor Photo Credit: Jason Payne /PNG

In a Vancouver Sun article last July, Dr. Bill MacEwan detailed a new plan calling for action by civic governments to address the urgent addictions and mental health crises in the Downtown Eastside, much like the response orchestrated the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC. Titled “Right to Health and Housing,” the plan was being developed by Dr. MacEwan and the nonprofit Building Community Society (BCS), which includes  former B.C. premier and Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt, as well as other influential members with decades of experience in the Downtown Eastside.

Now that the plan has been finalized, a new article in the Vancouver Sun outlines BCS’s campaign to garner and solidify support from BC political leadership. Dr. MacEwan describes how plan was sent to the leaders of the main political parties, as well as candidates in six key Vancouver ridings, in hopes that whichever government is elected in will not only embrace its proposals, but also invest in and launch a coordinated effort to respond to the ‘other’ health emergency playing out in the Downtown Eastside, which has largely been overshadowed by COVID-19.  The plan involves the creation of a new secretariat position to analyze services and oversee an operations centre that would include outreach teams, in-patient mental health treatment, drug rehabilitation, and homes for the hardest-to-house. The plan would also focus on 300 precariously-housed people with severe mental health and addictions, with the goal to “…walk with them every step of the way along a continuum of care toward a life free from the pain and indignity.”

Read the entire October 23rd Vancouver Sun article here.