Illicit drug overdose deaths on rise in North America

published on January 19, 2018 in BC Local News

Coroner: ‘programs focused on scaring people from using drugs are not effective in saving lives’

The illicit drug overdose crisis has taken more than 2,000 lives in British Columbia since January 2016, and the province is likely to surpass the 1,500 mark for deaths in 2017 alone.

Too many valued lives are being lost, and that’s why the BC Coroners Service is working collaboratively with a number of partners across the province and the country to find meaningful ways to reduce the tragic number of deaths in our communities.

Recent media coverage has indicated that a B.C. funeral services company has developed a public awareness campaign to highlight the danger of opioids, targeting youth and teens, with an event planned to include a “more visceral, emotional experience.”

The coverage indicated that coroners would be participating.

While we acknowledge the importance of public education and awareness, the BC Coroners Service does not endorse, and will not be participating in, fear-based initiatives.

Evidence suggests the reasons for drug use are complex and multifaceted, and programs focused on scaring people from using drugs are not effective in saving lives.

Additionally, they tend to increase the stigma surrounding drug use, and actually discourage people from seeking help; an obsolete approach that has led to the loss of countless lives.

View the full article