BC Centre for Disease Control naloxone kit. (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

As B.C. grapples with pandemic, top doctor marks grim anniversary of overdose crisis

Dr. Henry said the stigma associated with addiction, the challenges with getting help remained top of mind

As the province grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. marked the grim anniversary of another public health emergency that claimed nearly 1,000 lives last year.

B.C. declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency four years ago Tuesday (April 14). Since then, more than 4,700 people have died due to illicit drug overdoses in the province.

“I am acutely aware of the suffering and loss felt by people who use drugs, by their families and by their communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s top doctor, said.

“Many have lost loved ones.”

Henry said the stigma associated with addiction and the challenges with getting help remained top of mind for her.

“I want you to know that you are not alone,” she said.

“We’re not letting this [COVID-19] crisis overtake the importance of our response to our overdose crisis.”

According to the B.C. Coroner’s Service, illicit drug overdoses killed 981 people in 2019, 1,543 in 2018, 1,495 in 2017, and 991 in 2016.

READ MORE: People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

READ MORE: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusopioid crisisopioid epidemicopioids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

PHOTOS: Dozens show up to rebuild vandalized Victoria people-less protest

Chalk messages of support surround the fountain in Centennial Square

Saanich cancels recreation centre membership passes due to COVID-19

Pass-holders to receive account credit or refund, facilities remain closed

Black bear sighting reported on UVic campus

University urging residents in the area to be careful

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read