“More British Columbians died of overdose in one month than died in the whole first wave of COVID-19,” said Guy Felicella, of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use.
Covid-19 deaths 167 for March, April, May and parts of June.
“Last month ( May ), a staggering 170 people lost their lives because of an illegal drug supply that’s more toxic and poisoned than ever.
The difference – most illegal drug deaths are young men. Most Covid-19 deaths are people in the last decade of a life over 75.
“Before COVID-19, there was so much more to do, but we were heading in the right direction. The overdose death rate was coming down in B.C., and the evidence told us that our collective efforts were making a difference. The rapid scale up and distribution of naloxone and increased access to overdose prevention services (OPS) and treatment showed, through the BC Centre for Disease Control, that we had averted more than 6,000 deaths since the crisis began.
“Yet, with the immense pressure of two public health emergencies, so many unprecedented factors are bearing down swiftly on us all at once. Borders are closed and the usual illegal supply chains are disrupted, leading to drugs that are more toxic than ever. Unemployment, social isolation, declining mental health and increased alcohol and substance use are also the reality for so many right now.
Source: Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions