BC drug deaths top 10,000 since state of emergency declared in 2016

In British Columbia, illegal drugs have killed more than 10,000 people since the state declared a public health emergency in April 2016, said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. increase.

Lapointe said the state has lost a record number of people to toxic drug supplies this year, with deaths in the first half of 2022 surpassing those in the same period in 2021.

“Illicit fentanyl continues to fuel this crisis, with fentanyl or its analogues present in 83% of deaths as of 2022,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.

At least 1,095 residents are believed to have died between January and June this year, with an average of six deaths per day, according to new data from the BC Coroners Service.

More than three-quarters of those who died this year were reportedly male, mostly between the ages of 30 and 59.

There were 146 overdose deaths in June, a 26% drop from May, but that doesn’t mean the crisis is easing, Lapointe warned.

“We don’t put too much weight on individual months because we know we’ve seen declines throughout this crisis and then increased rapidly. What that reflects is market volatility,” she said. rice field.

“From the July data, we know we’re seeing an increase again. I think the message is just that it’s really unpredictable.”

In June, Ottawa approved a three-year exception to federal drug laws, and starting next year, B.C. will become the first state to avoid arrest or prosecution for possession of up to 2.5 grams of certain illegal drugs.

Lapointe praised the move, but said there was still an urgent need for the government to provide access to safer supplies statewide.

More than 10,000 #BC drug-related deaths since state of emergency declared in 2016: Coroner. #BCPoli #IllicitDrugs #OverdoseCrisis #ToxicDrugs

“Certainly, the conversation is changing. Very sadly, the toxic drug supply is changing and changing just as fast,” she said.

She referred to a report by the BC Coroner’s Office Death Review Board that investigated more than 6,000 deaths from illegal drug overdoses between August 2017 and July 2021. A combination of increasingly toxic supplies and the current policy framework that drives users to unregulated sources.

“Only by drastically reducing our reliance on the profit-seeking illicit drug trade can we save lives and reverse the trajectory of this crisis,” Lapointe said.

The latest figures through June 30 put the death toll since April 2016 at 9,949, but Lapointe said “the death toll rose” in July, with the tally surpassing 10,000. Stated.

Guy Felicela, peer clinical advisor at the Overdose Emergency Center and BC Center for Substance Use, also calls for updated policies and more public education to end the stigma associated with substance use. Nothing will change if people don’t get the support they need, he said.

“Be it a safe supply, treatment or recovery, we can’t give people an alternative to the illicit drug supply and they are dying,” he said.

State says illicit drug toxicity is leading cause of unnatural deaths in BC

— Brianna Charlevoix in Vancouver.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on August 16, 2022.

BC drug deaths top 10,000 since state of emergency declared in 2016

Source link BC drug deaths top 10,000 since state of emergency declared in 2016

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