Opinion: Get politics out of public health

published on December 9, 2021 by Guy Felicella in Vancouver Is Awesome

This week the BC Coroners Service shared the latest overdose death count: 201 people died in October from illicit drug poisonings. That’s the highest number of fatalities in a single month during what has already been the single worst year of what is now the fifth year of the worst drug crisis in our province’s history.

More than two hundred people dead. For those of us who lost someone we know that month – or the month before that, or the month before that – this all hits like a tidal wave of grief.

It’s not just in B.C. Overdoses and overdose deaths have been increasing across the country since the pandemic. Alberta and Ontario, along with British Columbia, are experiencing the highest rates of overdose on record. Nationally, overdose deaths are on pace to reach an all-time high in 2021.

The reports from the coroners’ service, Stats Canada, and other health surveillance bodies are now anticipated with a special kind of dread those of us working in public health. It’s not just because the reports are a stark reminder of all those we’ve lost, it’s also because we know exactly what’s coming before the reports ever get published…

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