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Federal Government Acknowledges Release of BC Coroner’s Report on Drug Toxicity Deaths

By February 12, 2021 February 17th, 2021 No Comments

On February 11, 2021, the BC Coroners Service released their full report on illicit drug toxicity deaths from last year, 2020. The Coroner’s report also summarizes all illicit toxicity deaths for the past decade from 2010-2020. Key findings include:

  •  A total of 1760 lives were lost last year in 2020 due to illicit drug toxicity
  • There was a 74% increase in number of deaths in 2020 as compared to 2019
  • 69% of the deaths occurred between the ages of 30-59
  • 80% of the deaths occurred were male
  • Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria experienced the most number of deaths
  • 84% of deaths happened indoors, with 56% in private residences

Our Government recognizes the seriousness of this public health crisis and just last Monday, we announced more than $15 million in federal funding for four safer supply projects for people at risk of overdose in B.C. Please see here for more information about this announcement. We remain committed to working with our partners in provinces and municipalities to ensure that they have the tools they need to respond to their communities’ needs in the face of this overdose crisis.

 OPIOID CRISIS

The opioid crisis is the most significant public health issue in Canada’s recent history, and our hearts are with all those who’ve lost a loved one.

  • We have responded by:
    • investing over $425 million in emergency responses;
    • restoring harm reduction and approving over 40 Supervised Consumption Sites; and,
    • cutting red tape and removing barriers to treatment.
  • We will continue to tackle this epidemic by:
    • expanding access to a safe supply of prescription opioids;
    • committing over $700 million towards treatment in the next decade;
    • fighting stigma.
  • This is a medical issue not a moral one, and we will continue to do all we can to save lives and turn the tide of this national public health crisis.

DECRIMINALIZATION

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the ongoing opioid crisis.
  • All levels of government must reaffirm our efforts to save the lives of Canadians.
  • We are ready to work with provinces and municipalities on options that respond to their local and regional needs,
  • We welcomed the guidance and recommendations published by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
  • We will review any incoming requests, and will continue our work to get Canadians who use substances the support they need.

 The Situation in Vancouver:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the ongoing opioid crisis.
  • All levels of government must reaffirm our efforts to save the lives of Canadians.
  • Health Canada is working with Vancouver on this request. We will continue our work to get Canadians who use substances the support they need.

View the full report here: Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths in B.C.