First Nations figure prominently in drug fatalities

published on January 20, 2011 by Doug Shanks in Westender

First Nations people – particularly women – are more likely to die from a drug overdose in British Columbia than non-aboriginal people, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted by the Urban Health Research Initiative, a program operating out of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCFE), and published in the journal Addiction, reviewed coroners’ reports of all fatal overdoses in the province between 2001 and 2005 – more than 900 in total. “By looking through those files, it became apparent to us, just by skimming the data, that far too many of these people were of First Nations ancestry,” saidDr. Thomas Kerr, one of the study’s senior authors. “And when we actually did a rigorous evaluation, sure enough, we found that people of First Nations ancestry were about three times more likely to die of a drug-related overdose.”

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