BC Centre for Disease Control naloxone kit. (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

BC Centre for Disease Control naloxone kit. (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

As B.C. grapples with pandemic, top doctor marks grim anniversary of overdose crisis

Dr. Henry said the stigma associated with addiction, the challenges with getting help remained top of mind

As the province grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. marked the grim anniversary of another public health emergency that claimed nearly 1,000 lives last year.

B.C. declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency four years ago Tuesday (April 14). Since then, more than 4,700 people have died due to illicit drug overdoses in the province.

“I am acutely aware of the suffering and loss felt by people who use drugs, by their families and by their communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s top doctor, said.

“Many have lost loved ones.”

Henry said the stigma associated with addiction and the challenges with getting help remained top of mind for her.

“I want you to know that you are not alone,” she said.

“We’re not letting this [COVID-19] crisis overtake the importance of our response to our overdose crisis.”

According to the B.C. Coroner’s Service, illicit drug overdoses killed 981 people in 2019, 1,543 in 2018, 1,495 in 2017, and 991 in 2016.

READ MORE: People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

READ MORE: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusopioid crisisopioid epidemicopioids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna International Airport. (Contributed)
Contactless parking payment available at YLW

Kelowna International Airport parking now compatible with the PayByPhone application

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
Outbreak at Kelowna long term care home declared over

Penticton, Kelowna long term care home outbreaks declared over Jan. 20

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES)
Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

Stats show every major community in Okanagan - Shuswap increased in calls for potential overdoses

The Regional District of North Okanagan is cautioning residents to watch for rock slides along the Okanagan Rail Trail during freeze-thaw season. (RDNO photo)
Residents urged to watch for rockfalls on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO reminds rail trail travellers to heed rockfall warning signs during freeze-thaw season

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Charlotte is one of the resident pigs at Star's Piggly Wiggly's Sanctuary near Kelowna. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Kelowna-area pig sanctuary needs a new home

Star’s Piggly Wiggly’s Sanctuary is looking for properties in Vernon, Coldstream, and Enderby

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Public provoking blamed for moose chasing Okanagan residents

‘The problem is people are bugging it’ conservation officer

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Most Read