Much more to be done to curb overdose rates in BC

NORTH VANCOUVER (October 16, 2019) – MLA Jane Thornthwaite, BC Liberal Mental Health and Addictions Critic, is calling on John Horgan to take action to invest in a more complete spectrum of care to curb the cycle of addiction in light of the updated Illicit Drug Toxicity Report released today.

“British Columbians continue to face significant challenges trying to get help to break the cycle of addiction thanks to a lack of funding for treatment and recovery from Judy Darcy and the NDP government,” said Thornthwaite. “While it’s encouraging to see the number of overdose deaths trending downwards this year, only halfway through 2019, the number of deaths has already surpassed the total number of deaths in 2016 when the crisis was first declared. With an entire government ministry created to address mental health and addictions – and over two years into the NDP’s mandate – it’s simply unacceptable to continue to see overdose rates increasing.”

The report found that 86% of deaths are occurring inside and that 56% of that occurring in private homes. Additionally, today’s report confirms that 12 youth have already died from overdoses this year and that overdose death rates continue to be strongly correlated to the days when welfare cheques are distributed.

“Today’s report clearly outlines the positive impact the Safe Care Act and the Welfare Payment System Reflection Act, both bills we have introduced in the House, could have when it comes to helping save lives,” concluded Thornthwaite. “The NDP is doing little to help those suffering in silence and using alone in their homes. Investing in overdose prevention sites and the distribution of naloxone kits is helping to save lives, but it is not enough to break the cycle of addiction.”

British Columbians deserve action now – the one size fits all approach to addiction is not working. Only when John Horgan and the NDP invest in a seamless mental health and addictions system province-wide can we expect to see an improvement in health outcomes.

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