NDP’s legal action will not save lives

NORTH VANCOUVER (August 29, 2018) – BC Liberal Critic for Mental Health and Addictions Jane Thornthwaite released the following statement in response to the NDP government’s legal action against drug companies:

“The BC Liberal Caucus supports any initiative to save lives and hold those who might be responsible for our overdose epidemic to account.

“Four people die every day from an opioid overdose in this province. This is a crisis that needs urgent response, which we are not seeing from the NDP government. A court case that will likely drag out over decades will not save lives and could divert scarce resources away from front-line response and solutions that will help people get well.

“In addition, this case may have the unintended consequence of making people believe that there’s only one culprit behind the current overdose epidemic, when really there is a chain of failures that need to be addressed. To suggest that this is solely about drug companies is an overly simplistic response and focuses too much attention on one single part of the problem.

“We also have yet to see a strategy from this government that provides meaningful treatment and recovery for adults. Last month, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use released a comprehensive report setting a pathway to expanding recovery services in the province. Since then, this government has done nothing.

“As statistics show from last month, this crisis is only getting worse. We need immediate action to help addicts get well, such as the Safe Care Act I proposed last spring. The NDP refused to even discuss the bill, which has wide support from the addictions recovery community.

“Sadly, today’s announcement will not save any lives. I call on the NDP to take meaningful action and table my bill for debate on the first day that the Legislature resumes.”

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