Relentless number of deaths from illicit drug toxicity requires urgent action: BC Green Party

B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau on Tuesday issued the following statement on Overdose Awareness Day as the BC Coroner Services reported that at least 1,011 have died from suspected illicit drug poisonings in B.C. between January and June:

“Month after month and year after year, reports of an increasing number of people dying from a toxic drug supply have been released from the BC Coroner’s office, and yet little has changed in the government’s response. This emergency is connected to and exacerbated by inequality, the housing crisis, and lack of access to community and mental health supports. We need to see an approach from the government that acknowledges how interconnected these crises are, and responds appropriately to the relentless loss of life that we are seeing.

“We will continue to call for all-party cooperation and a cross-party committee to take immediate action against the toxic drug crisis. What we can achieve together is far greater than what we can achieve when working alone. We need the political will, courage, and consensus to make the much-needed policy and legislative changes that will help people immediately. This includes access to safe supply, decriminalization of people who use drugs, investment in treatment and non-stigmatized support for people who use drugs.

“The urgency of this crisis requires us to mature in our political decision making and work together, with our colleagues, who ultimately represent all people in B.C. That is the kind of leadership that is required of us in times like this.”

MLA Adam Olsen said: “We are entering the fall legislative session in a short number of weeks, and we want to know: what has this NDP government done to address drug toxicity in the past two months, especially in light of the delay in data? Both opposition parties are calling for genuine cross-party collaboration on this crisis, and continue to advocate for action.”