NORTH VANCOUVER (August 31, 2018) – Mental Health and Addictions Critic Jane Thornthwaite has released the following statement on International Overdose Awareness Day:
“Today we pause to remember those who have passed away from an overdose and vow to continue to fight the stigma of addiction.
“Last month there were 134 overdose deaths, marking a 12 per cent increase year over year and a 25 per cent increase over June 2018. B.C. averaged 4.3 deaths per day in July, and so far in 2018 nearly 900 people have died. July’s numbers are second only this year to those of March 2018, which was the second-deadliest in B.C. history. Sixty-one per cent of overdose deaths are on the Lower Mainland and almost 90 per cent happen indoors.
“This crisis has been ongoing, and it shows no signs of abating. We as British Columbians and Canadians need to consider all possible options to address this crisis. Children are falling through the cracks of our system, and we are seeing hundreds of overdoses happening at home each month. Our emergency services need relief. Harm reduction measures are a lifesaving and necessary measure, but a comprehensive treatment and recovery strategy needs to be developed so that we can help break the cycle of addiction for those who are ready. Only through early prevention and long-term recovery strategies will we finally see this tragic and devastating epidemic finally end.”