Panel calls for urgent action on safer drug supply in B.C. to prevent overdoses

published on March 9, 2022 by Camille Bains in Winnipeg Free Press

VICTORIA – A report into an investigation of 6,007 overdose deaths in British Columbia calls on the province to urgently develop a policy to distribute a safer supply of drugs and offer better health supports with a plan that would see action taken over 30, 60 and 90 days.

The death review panel report released Wednesday by chief coroner Lisa Lapointe’s office sets a deadline of May 9 for the government to create a safer supply policy in collaboration with the BC Centre for Disease Control and the BC Centre on Substance Use.

Michael Eglison, chair of the panel, said the average age of those who died between August 2017 and July 2021 was 42, and Indigenous people and those with mental health disorders were disproportionately represented.

“Although a number of provincial initiatives have been undertaken in an attempt to address the drug toxicity crisis, these initiatives have not been sufficient to stop the rising death toll,” he told a news conference. “A new approach is required, one that includes a specific focus on the toxic drug supply.”…

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