B.C. Liberals blame NDP approach for massive increase in overdose deaths

B.C. Liberal Jane Thornthwaite in a statement on Wednesday, following the latest update from the B.C. Coroner’s Service on overdose deaths in British Columbia, said: “It’s clear from these numbers — a 71 per cent increase in year-over-year overdose death numbers — that the NDP approach is continuing to fail British Columbians.

“More youth under the age of 19 died in August than in all of 2019 combined and, additionally, Northern Health Authority had the highest death rates on record, ever.

“Sadly, it’s not that surprising as [Premier] John Horgan has been all talk and little action on the issue, even going so far as to say addiction was a choice.

“The choice he’s made is to fund the political staff in Premier’s Office at a higher level than the entire Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction.

“Each month, first responders are having to respond to more overdoses than the last, families continue to plead for treatment options, and the NDP continue to stall to invest in meaningful treatment and recovery and services across the province.

“John Horgan has shown he can’t be trusted to deliver an effective mental health and addictions system. A BC Liberal government will deliver on a mental health and addictions strategy that provides the needed support.

“It’s simply not enough anymore to solely invest in one approach, harm reduction supports like overdose prevention sites and greater distribution of naloxone kits are saving lives but we also need immediate investment in treatment and recovery. Only when we are able to get to the root of someone’s addiction, such as mental health issues, trauma or abuse, can we end the cycle of addiction.”