B.C. Opioid Crisis: 15 People Died Of Drug Overdoses In Vancouver In One Week

published on May 4, 2017 by Laura Kane and Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press in Huffington Post

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s opioid crisis became a focal point of the province’s election campaign on Thursday after receiving less attention than other issues, despite the ongoing death toll.

Fifteen people died of overdoses in Vancouver last week alone, which brought the total number of deaths this year to 117 and led Mayor Gregor Robertson to issue a statement demanding action from the next provincial government.

“This crisis is B.C.’s most tragic public health emergency in decades, and yet urgent health-care interventions that could immediately save lives are not being facilitated,” said Robertson, a former NDP member of the legislature. “The next provincial government needs to immediately take action on the overdose death crisis because the current government’s approach is not working.”

The NDP has promised to create a standalone Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction, among other measures, while Liberal promises include $12 million for up to 28 youth addiction treatment beds and $2 million for the new B.C. Centre on Substance Use.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan said Christy Clark’s Liberal government declared a public health crisis a year ago and yet the problem has gotten worse.

“It strikes me we’re not doing enough to address this,” he said at a campaign stop in Richmond. “I want to make sure there’s a minister responsible for mental health and addictions who gets up every day to make sure we’re making progress on this health crisis, not just ignoring it.”

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