Wednesday, April 17, 2024

206 lives were lost in BC last month due to toxic drug poisoning


As the toxic drug crisis continues to wreak havoc on BC and Canada as a whole, last month 206 more people lost their lives in BC. 

In the first four months of 2023, the total death toll is now at 814 lives lost.

According to the BC Coroners Service, fentanyl was present in 80% of April’s drug poisoning deaths and is almost always combined with other substances. Last month there was also a noticeable uptick in the use of benzodiazepines in those who lost their lives to drugs.

Some examples of common benzodiazapines are Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Klonopin. 

“Illicit fentanyl continues to be the main and most lethal driver of B.C.’s drug-toxicity public-health emergency, having been detected in 86% of deaths in 2022 and 79% of deaths in 2023,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. 

“Cocaine, methamphetamines and/or benzodiazapines are also often present. This drug poisoning crisis is the direct result of an unregulated drug market. Members of our communities are dying because non-prescribed, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is poisoning them on an unprecedented scale.”

April was the 31st consecutive month in which over 150 people died due to the drug poisoning crisis, and it was the 13th month straight that over 200 lost their lives. 

So far in 2023, Greater Victoria has had 49 people lose their lives due to toxic drugs making the region the third worst city that has been impacted by this crisis. Nanaimo is fourth hardest hit with 45 deaths.

Following the BC Coroners Service report, Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, issued a statement calling for evidence-based solutions from BC’s government. 

“Our province remains entrenched in an ongoing health emergency that continues to claim the lives of British Columbians,” said Furstenau. “The magnitude of this crisis is profound, causing immense loss and devastation for families and communities.” 

“Political parties should be focused on the evidence-based solutions to this tragedy, which include safe supply, safe consumption sites, and access to voluntary mental health care and addictions treatment.”

“Despite being in power for more than six years, the BC NDP government has failed to turn this around, leaving many British Columbians feeling abandoned.”

Curtis Blandy

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