2,224 people died in British Columbia due to illicit drug overdose last year.
As drug policy advisor to the City of Vancouver Karen Ward has explained, “overdose” implies that you’re taking too much of something. You can overdose on caffeine, or even water.
However, these record-number of illicit drug deaths are poisonings: Folks are unaware of the composition and potency of what they’re putting into their body. They think they’re taking something, but they’re actually taking something else which is poisoning them to death.
2,224 people died in British Columbia due to drug poisoning last year.
This is a twenty-six percent increase over the number of drug poisoning deaths in 2020. All these deaths would have been prevented if the folks who died from consuming toxic substances actually consumed the substances they thought they were taking, assured by regulated and accessible safe supply of these drugs – currently not available to most regular drug users.
For a public health emergency that was declared six years ago by the Government of B.C., whatever public policy has been implemented to address these poisoning deaths has unquestionably failed.
2,224 people died in British Columbia due to failed public policy last year.
But with grossly inadequate access to safe supply and treatment programs, it’s not so much that public policy has failed. Rather, there’s been a lack of political will to even try to implement the kind of public policy needed to seriously address this public health emergency, which kills over six British Columbians every day.
So, here’s the truth: Last year, 2,224 people died in British Columbia due to a lack of political will.
Mo Amir is the host of This is VANCOLOUR, British Columbia’s bona fide culture and politics talk show, now airing on Sundays at 7pm on CHEK.