‘So much sadness’: more British Columbians dying from overdoses than Covid

published on August 28, 2020 by Jesse Winter in The Guardian

Kathleen Radu thought her son was getting better.

After three stints in private drug treatment programs, Morgan Goodridge was stable again. His prescription drug-replacement treatments seemed to be working. He had just bought his first car, and hadn’t used street drugs in five months.

But on 15 June, less than a week after his 26th birthday, he relapsed, and by the next morning he was dead, one of more than 900 British Columbians killed by an overdose so far this year – a toll more than four times higher than the province’s deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Morgan would still be here if he’d had access to a safe supply of heroin,” Radu says, echoing a growing number of drug policy experts, users and advocates who argue that dramatically expanding access to pharmaceutical-grade heroin is the only meaningful way to save lives.

At a press conference this week announcing the latest deaths, those calls grew louder. Flanked by the province’s top doctor and its chief coroner, longtime harm reduction advocate Guy Felicella pleaded for the government to create a legal, regulated safe supply of heroin, and possibly even powdered fentanyl in controlled doses…

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